Sony is the latest company to enter the drone market, but unlike Amazon, which hopes to use its drones to deliver packages, Sony wants to collect information on you and me for its business clients.
Called Aerosense, Sony is partnering in the venture with Japanese firm ZMP.
Aerosense involves using the drones to capture aerial images and processing the collected data. As Sony phrases it, the mission is “measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting.” And they’re not doing it for their own curiosity. They’re doing it for the business clients that are willing to pay the most for the information, or who want specific information.
And that brings up the greatest ethical challenge with the growing drone craze, both private and commercial — do drones violate our rights to privacy?
Of course, drone enthusiasts would argue no. If they are to be truly honest, though, the reason the answer is no is only because we don’t know the drones are there.
When you’re surfing the Internet, Google knows everywhere you go, which is how AdWords gets the ads you are or should be interested in to you no matter where you are online. And it doesn’t bother you. But imagine if Google sent you a report each week on the sites you visited, the duration, the frequency, and so on. You’d be pretty freaked out and you’d be calling for Google to be banned.
The same is true for drones. If Sony’s drones are out there in the sky gathering information for businesses to use in crafting better products or services for us, then most of us won’t complain. However, if you’re standing in your backyard and you see a drone hovering above your head, you’re going to be pretty pissed off. God forbid you’re in the bathroom and you see one hovering outside your window!
Still, most of the information the drones collect won’t be of a personal nature. And regardless of how we feel about it, the drone craze is only going to get hotter, because companies like Sony and Amazon and many more believe there’s big money to be made with them.