14 Apr 2013

Regulation of civilian drones urged

8:20 am on 14 April 2013

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has called for civilian drone technology 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, he told the Guardian newspaper.

Quarrelling neighbours, he suggested, might end up buzzing each other with private surveillance drones.

He also warned of the risk of terrorists using the new technology.

"I'm not going to pass judgment on whether armies should exist, but I would prefer to not spread and democratise the ability to fight war to every single human being," Mr Schmidt said.

"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."

The BBC reports small drones, such as flying cameras, are already available worldwide.

The United States and Israel have led the way in recent years in using drones as weapons of war as well as for surveillance.