back to article 'He's F**KED with the wrong nerd ... I warned I'd go public'

This was the week when head hypocrite honcho at Google Eric Schmidt gave the world his two cents on the privacy concerns surrounding unauthorised photos taken of people and their homes. The photos taken by civilian drones of course, not those taken from cars with "Street View" emblazoned on them. He said: How would you feel …


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  1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    Eric, fixed that for you:

    It's one thing for Google to have spy cars peering in your back garden, but have other people doing it ... it's not going to happen.

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Eric, fixed that for you:

      Yes. We got that implication. First sentence of article:

      when head hypocrite honcho at Google Eric Schmidt

      See what they did there?

    2. Adam Foxton

      Re: Eric, fixed that for you:

      In his defence, Google Streetview goes round once every few years- I think they just started their first update after however many years its been up- and captures maybe a dozen frames of anywhere near your house and all within a minute or so. They also take images down if you raise privacy concerns.

      A drone, or collection of drones, could provide 24-hour live coverage of your house. That is substantially more intrusive and targetted- a whole other ball game to Streetview.

      I'm not sure if Streetview is creepy or not, but having a drone watching me would be far, far unnerving than me appearing in a photo on Streetview.

  2. pewpie


    "It's one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they're doing, but have other people doing it ... it's not going to happen."


    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: orly..

      Try to stop it and is already happened, pew pie. That's AIMagic.

    2. NumptyScrub

      Re: orly..

      quote: "It's one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they're doing, but have other people doing it ... it's not going to happen."

      I know, that was best the line of the article by far :D

      You think Eric believes he is government? Can't say that would surprise me either ;)

  3. Miek

    In the UK it would be illegal to operate a drone (if it is taking aerial photos or video) without a license, although, people just messing around in their gardens with a RC heli and a photo are not going to get in trouble until their are complaints about their activities: "He keeps looking in my daughters bedroom window" etc.

    1. NumptyScrub

      quote: "In the UK it would be illegal to operate a drone (if it is taking aerial photos or video) without a license"

      What license is required, and what laws would be contravened if a license is not sought first?

      Serious question, I'm interested to see if and how this is different to just taking photographs with a camera in a public place. I do know in the UK there is no expectation of privacy when in public, however I'm not familiar with the nuances of photography and what specific lines have been drawn on what you can and cannot photograph in various circumstances.

      The only ones I do actually know are the (lack of) expectation of privacy one, and the usual test in court being the ubiquitous "reasonable person".

      1. Yet Another Commentard


        No idea about legalities here, but was reminded of the late Dave Allen, who said:

        "If I look out of my bedroom window and see the woman next door sunbathing naked in her garden, she has me arrested for being a peeping Tom. If she sees me sunbathing naked, I get arrested for indecent exposure."

        May your god go with you, and all that.

        1. JohnMurray

          Re: @numptyscrub

          "peeping-Tom" is now "voyeur" and the offence is "voyeurism" (sex offences act 2003) (go straight to jail). "they" have to show "it" was to obtain sexual gratification !

          "indecent exposure" is now "exposure" (same act as above). However, "they" now have to prove intent to cause alarm or distress.

      2. Miek

        "What license is required, and what laws would be contravened if a license is not sought first?" -- Here is a little Copypasta take from a RC Flying website/online shop for your consumption, check the CAA and BMFA website for further information.

        "First Person View RC Flying.

        FPV RC is a legitimate activity but there are limitations that you must observe to be both legal and insured. ANO Article 166 (3) says the person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions. This is a strict legal requirement.

        The implication for FPV RC is that the pilot ‘under the hood’ cannot, by definition, be the pilot in charge of the model and that there must be a separate ‘pilot in charge’ at all times. After discussions with the insurers and the CAA, BMFA has been able to arrange insurance for the activity but ONLY if the following regulation is followed:

        When flying FPV RC, the pilots MUST use a buddy box system with the pilot in charge using the master transmitter. In addition, the model is equipped with a video camera and video link to the ground and will automatically be classed by the CAA as a small aircraft equipped for surveillance. Consequently, all of ANO Article 167, (Small unmanned surveillance aircraft) will apply to any flights made. This can be read in full in the section ‘Legal Controls over Model Flying’.

        Again, these are strict legal requirements.

        Aerial Photography using UAV, UAS, Quadcopter, RC Helicopter etc.:

        It has come to our attention that the CAA has a law within the UK with regards UAV usage for commercial gain. If you intend to fly your aircraft for video or photograpy for personal financial gain the CAA require the user to hold a Civil Pilots licence and must undertake relevant check to fly their aircraft.

        The Law for the CAA states this in there CAP 722 Document available to download from the CAA website.

        As we understand it, as long as the user is flying for recreational purpose only and NOT personal gain, this requirement does not apply.

        However, we always recommend when flying any RC product that permission is asked from relevant land owners, councils or park authorities."


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    okay stop laughing now, the UK has to.

  5. Neil Lewis

    Perhaps not quite so hypocritical

    Yes, it's very easy, moderately funny even, to criticise Eric Schmidt (and by extension Google) for complaining about private surveillance by drones when they use fleets of Streetview cars as part of their business plan, but there is actually a glaringly obvious problem with that criticism.

    Streetview cars only drive on the public roads. That means anything photographed by them is already visible by the general public.

    A drone flying over your home could peer into nooks and crannies quite invisible from the viewpoint of a Streetview car; into areas you would normally quite legitimately expect to be private.

    Can the author of this article really not understand the distinction? Eric Schmidt says a lot of questionable things, but this does not seem to be one of them.

    1. Ogi

      Re: Perhaps not quite so hypocritical

      That is ignoring the fact that, from what I remember reading about Google maps when it first came out. The "highest" zoom level were pictures taken from aircraft flying above (which is why you don't get this zoom level everywhere, some countries disallowed it).

      The difference was that it wasn't a drone, so I guess there must have been some license paid for the right to this, and Google probably paid a lot for this data.

      If I were to make a guess, I think Eric is worried that if anybody can launch a drone up and take photos as good as Google maps, all the money they spend on the data would be useless (Imagine openstreetmap with such photos).

      Still, it could just be because he is a complete hypocrite, or both. Who knows. Still... not amused.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Perhaps not quite so hypocritical

      nope, it's pretty hypocritical. I seem to recall googie getting sued over street view a while back, apparently they drove their camera car down a marked private driveway and the residents didn't take kindly to it. not only did google claim that a sign reading "private, no trespassing" was not enough to prevent them from entering, more amusingly (at least in present context) google attempted to have the suit dismissed on grounds that "complete privacy does not exist, unless you're a hermit" and even used the satellite argument: if it can be seen by a satellite (or low flying aircraft) then you have no expectation of privacy.

  6. Craig 28

    Firstly it's worth pointing out that Google's spymobiles mount their cameras on poles. I haven't seen them myself so it may well be that they can see things from their elevated position which even a tall human would be unable to see. Secondly and perhaps more significantly there's Google Earth, which has reportedly according to a prior el reg article (can't be bothered to look it up) been used by police in a European country to plan their approach on a property to arrest someone during which process they discovered a quantity of narcotic plants in their back garden. That's good enough quality now to be a concern, and in years to come when they can increase the quality it will only get worse.

    If anyone thinks Google wouldn't put up even higher resolution pics on Google Earth they're kidding themselves. Real time is another matter of course, but eventually I could definitely see the updates increasing in frequency.

  7. Haku

    Drone problem?

    Then you need a Net Gun.

  8. ChrisInAStrangeLand

    elreg lost plot as per usual.

    Let's put surveillance cameras and drones everywhere just to stick it to this arsehole. That will show these hypocritical google evildoers who's boss.

  9. Yudhisthira

    Yes Eric

    In my samsung Androied note 2 galaxy phone I connected my gmail and then google went to download all my photos which were in google+ and more it went get all my contacts list from my phone with out asking if I wanted to do it or give permission to do it .Besides as well it use up about 600 MB of my data package which was part of my contract as well it does it every time I swicht to the net if I want to surf the net .

    So about privicy issues and surveillance Eric look at you own GOOGLE that it uses everyones private information and images to spin money for GOOGLE put you mouth were your money is .

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