Today Amazon's vice president for global public policy, Paul Misener, went before a house committee on oversight and government reform to make a plea that the Federal Aviation Administration—not state and local governments—be the sole regulators of domestic commercial drone use, Reuters reports.
Why wouldn't the mammoth online retailer want local and state governments to regulate the movement of drones for their Amazon Prime Air service? They might fear the city using its zoning laws to restrict drone activity. They also might not want to deal with privacy issues related to video or other information the drone might capture as it makes its creepy way across the sky
I'm not sure of their exact reasons. They didn't directly respond to the questions I e-mailed them. But I do know one fear that they have yet to consider:
Roving bands of stick-wielding teens with nothing to do but hunt drones.
I mean, look at this thing: I once was a 16-year-old boy with not much to do. If I were walking home from school and I saw a hovering "octocopter" depositing its load on my neighbor's stoop, I'd take the stick I was given when I became a teenager, or perhaps pull a rock from the rock sack I was also given on that day, knock the drone out of the sky, and then steal the dildos or fungal cream or Cards Against Humanity or whatever else is in there and drag it back to my teen den.
Rocks and sticks are good close-range options, but a perusal of Amazon's robust marketplace reveals several mid-to-long-range options as well. If I were an interested teen who wanted to Mad Max: Fury Road all over some drones, I could pick up a Red Ryder Fun Kit, a fine BB gun complete with a solid wood stock and classic lever-cocking, spring air action. And if I didn't want to carry all that around, I could always go slingshot.
And how would anyone catch me? How would enforcement work? I bust up the drone and then the drone operator who saw me calls the police, sends them to my exact location, and then they arrest me? How could they be sure it was me when I was covering my face with my teen bandit bandana?
You'll never catch me alive, drones.