By Zach Srnis
Unmanned aircrafts, also known as drones, have grown more prominent by the day. Drones are not only used by the military but have also become more popular for private use.
It was only a matter of time before regulations and policies were created for the craft. The Ohio Attorney General’s Advisory Group on Unmanned Aircraft Systems, started by the Attorney General Mark DeWine, was formed in order to set policies for drone operations.
Samantha Dowd, who organizes the meetings for the advisory group, said that understanding the rules and regulations of drone operation are vital for safe operation.
“These are devices that people can control from good distances and can do so rather anonymously,” said Dowd. “They are quiet and can be, at times, undetectable. They can contain impressive surveillance systems and can be used to monitor people and places that may not be aware.”
Dowd said that opportunities present themselves for pairing drones and law enforcement, allowing discreet monitoring for surveillance purposes as decided by guidelines that will be soon set in place.
While many drone operators are expected to follow the rules of the sky, Dowd and the Ohio Attorney General’s Advisory Group on Unmanned Aircraft Systems understands that not everyone will choose to use drones responsibly.
“We are seeing them being used for certain businesses, like Amazon,” Dowd said. “We are also seeing them land on the White House lawn. It is about using drones to their best potential, not their worst.”
Some drone owners do not welcome the idea of regulations, like Rick Bias, who has found a hobby in drone racing and maneuvering.
“Drones, specifically the small quadcopter ones that are used recreationally are harmless,” said Bias. “I personally don’t see the need to have laws that inhibit how they are used.”
Bias mentioned that it made more sense to set guidelines that the police need to follow.
“If law enforcement wants to use drones to monitor the cities from the sky, it makes sense to make sure they have restrictions they must abide by,” said Bias. “If they seek to use drones officially then they must have some limitations to when and how they are used.”
Bao Le, who has both operated and made his own drones, mentioned that he understands what the Attorney General is seeking to do.
“It was only a matter of time,” said Le. “Drones are something that are nearly everywhere now and the technology is something that has improved. They can now be controlled for great distance and can be used to carry objects or provide surveillance.”
Le felt that police implementation of drones was a good idea.
“I mean it makes sense for the state to look into it,” said Le. “Drones can move into areas and move with and around different obstacles. So I can see the usefulness from a police perspective.”
There has currently been no Ohio legislation passed regarding drones, so only some federal laws apply. Even if someone feels that a drone is violating their privacy, it cannot be shot down.
Ironically, businesses are forced to register their use of drones, but nothing has been made to regulate drones for ‘recreational’ use.