Eric Schmidt, Google chief and one of the world’s influential figures in digital technology, has called for civilian drone tech to be regulated, warning about privacy and security concerns.
Cheap miniature versions of the unmanned aircraft used by militaries could fall into the wrong hands, Eric Schmidt told TheGuardian newspaper.
Quarrelling neighbors, the Google chief suggested, might end up buzzing each other with private surveillance drones.
Eric Schmidt also warned of the risk of terrorists using the new technology.
He is believed to have close relations with President Barack Obama, whom he advises on matters of science and technology.
Eric Schmidt has called for civilian drone technology to be regulated, warning about privacy and security concerns
“You’re having a dispute with your neighbor,” he told The Guardian in an interview printed on Saturday.
“How would you feel if your neighbor went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their backyard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”
Warning of mini-drones’ potential as a terrorist weapon, he said: “I’m not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratize the ability to fight war to every single human being.”
“It’s got to be regulated… 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.”
Small drones, such as flying cameras, are already available worldwide, and non-military surveillance were recently introduced to track poachers in the remote Indian state of Assam.
The US and Israel have led the way in recent years in using drones as weapons of war as well as for surveillance.
America’s Federal Aviation Administration is currently exploring how commercial drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, can be safely introduced into US airspace.
Google has agreed to create a 60 million euro ($82 million) fund to help French media organizations improve their internet operations.
It follows two months of negotiations after local news sites had demanded payment for the privilege of letting the search giant display their links.
The French government had threatened to tax the revenue Google made from posting ads alongside the results.
The US firm had retorted it might stop indexing French papers’ articles.
In addition to the creating the Digital Publishing Innovation Fund, Google has agreed to give French media access to its advertising platforms at a reduced cost.
The compromise allows it to avoid paying an ongoing licensing fee.
“France is proud to have reached this agreement with Google, the first of its kind in the world,” the French president’s office said on Twitter.
“It appears Google have opened the door to other countries’ newspapers doing the same thing,” said Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis.
“This sets a precedent which other publishers may pursue in their own negotiations.”
Google has agreed to create a 60 million euro fund to help French media organizations improve their internet operations
After the news was announced, Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, wrote on his company’s blog: “These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.”
The search giant has also made efforts to resolve a separate European dispute.
It has filed proposals with the European Commission stating how it intends to deal with complaints made by Microsoft and more than a dozen other companies that it had broken competition rules.
The European regulator will now consider Google’s proposals, which have not been disclosed.
If it rejects them and finds the firm has broken its rules, it has the power to fine the firm up to 10% of its global turnover which could amount to more than $4 billion.