Thursday, August 6, 2015

More on shooting down drones

I am not a lawyer, but some lawyers (well, law professors) are looking at this and think that it may be justified:
Robots can pose-or can appear to pose-a threat to life, property, and privacy. May a landowner legally shoot down a trespassing drone? Can she hold a trespassing autonomous car as security against damage done or further torts? Is the fear that a drone may be operated by a paparazzo or a peeping Tom sufficient grounds to disable or interfere with it? How hard may you shove if the office robot rolls over your foot? This paper addresses all those issues and one more: what rules and standards we could put into place to make the resolution of those questions easier and fairer to all concerned.

The default common-law legal rules governing each of these perceived threats are somewhat different, although reasonableness always plays an important role in defining legal rights and options. In certain cases - drone overflights, autonomous cars, national, state, and even local regulation - may trump the common law. Because it is in most cases obvious that humans can use force to protect themselves against actual physical attack, the paper concentrates on the more interesting cases of (1) robot (and especially drone) trespass and (2) responses to perceived threats other than physical attack by robots notably the risk that the robot (or drone) may be spying - perceptions which may not always be justified, but which sometimes may nonetheless be considered reasonable in law.

We argue that the scope of permissible self-help in defending one's privacy should be quite broad. There is exigency in that resort to legally administered remedies would be impracticable; and worse, the harm caused by a drone that escapes with intrusive recordings can be substantial and hard to remedy after the fact. Further, it is common for new technology to be seen as risky and dangerous, and until proven otherwise drones are no exception. At least initially, violent self-help will seem, and often may be, reasonable even when the privacy threat is not great - or even extant
And it's not just the profs saying this.  Homeland Security says it, too:
The US Department of Homeland Security issued an intelligence assessment to law enforcement agencies Friday warning that recreational drones "could be used by adversaries" to attack the United States.


The report added that drones "could be used by adversaries to leverage UAS as part of an attack" and that an "emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems present detection and disruption challenges."
Best to shoot it, just to be sure.  And remember to double tap.


parascribe said...

Do you suppose this issue will lead to a renewal of the caliber debate? What load for drones?

Borepatch said...

parascribe, you should use these.


Glen Filthie said...

Great minds think alike! I did a scholarly treatise of this today too.

But we need to address the current reality. 99% of recreational drones do not have cameras with the resolution and the telemetry required for effectively spying on you. I built one for fun and you should too - preferably with your son as an educational experience. They are toys and most of us are considerate and sensible enough not to antagonize others with them.

These toys are just that - toys. For me to take my drone up to ASM's window, and record video as he butt-flosses with a towel after getting out of the shower...I would need at least a $5000.00 machine AND - the skills to handle it. In a scenario like that I am liable to lose the drone - and for what? Far, far better porn is available on the internet for free! (Don't ask me how I know that).

As for loading one up with C4 and flying one down Obama's shorts or through a window in the Oval Office? That MAY be a credible threat very soon. I suspect the secret service has had some sleepless nights about that. It only serves to reinforce my views about The War On Terror - the only thing that will work is deterrence. To win the war on terror, we have to fight it and that means doing some really nasty things that won't sit well with the libertarians, liberals and ACLU types.

Very interesting times await.