It's a marvelous time to be a photographer.
The blossoming tech industry has made us all kids in a candy shop, suddenly realizing the whole street is candy shops, on a street with peppermint cobblestones and licorice fountains. And if that weren't enough, flying robots are now dropping candy from the sky.
With the advent of inexpensive drone photography, cameras can be placed in wondrous places. I can film a herd of wildebeest from just overhead, swoop a video camera through rainforest canopy bromeliads, and capture breathtaking human landscapes above Times Square.
Also- did I mention this?- I can hover my CreepDrone 2000X just outside your window.
With cameras potentially everywhere and anywhere, our ability to film nearly anything has outpaced our ability to think clearly about what we can and should do with the footage. Consider the following scenarios:
1. A government-owned drone, as part of a geological survey, accidentally videos a rancher hunting and killing an endangered species on her own land.
2. Private citizens, activists for organic agriculture, photograph food safety violations at a feedlot.
3. A private drone films a dinner party in another person's private back yard, without consent.
4. The same drone films a dinner party in a public park.
5. A private drone takes a photograph mostly of a public street that incidentally captures, in the corner, a nude sunbather in his back yard.
For each of these cases, should regulations address whether a drone ought to be allowed in the location? Should regulations address what can be done with the footage, beyond the existing expectation-of-privacy norms? Does it matter if the drone is government, corporate, or private?
These are the sorts of questions our lawmakers need to address. Fortunately, we can monitor their homes and offices by drone to see if they're making progress.