Stalking Drones? Not Unless “Dune” Technology has appeared a few hundred thousand years early.

There are a number of myths about drones and how they can impose on privacy, be dangerous if they fall out of the sky, are a potential hazard for “proper” aircraft and so on. At least two out of three of these I agree with in all cases, and one out of three in certain circumstances.

That one is the privacy issue – the rest are covered quite neatly by the rules, and sensible ones they are, that the governing body, CASA, has put into place in Australia.

Today on the ABC I see a story about a Western Sydney woman who is convinced her ex-husband is using a drone to stalk her, even after she had escaped interstate.

Apparently one day she looked up after hearing a whirring noise and saw a drone over the top of her safe house.

According to the ABC’s interview with her, “She lives in fear in a virtual prison to keep her children safe. Six security cameras surround the property, windows are sealed with sensors and the whole family wear personal alarms wherever they go.

Kim is so scared, she home-schools her children to reduce the chance of them being abducted.

“I do feel like we’re the prisoners. We’re the ones that have the social stigma,” she said.

The federal Office of the eSafety’s Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant (yes there is such a thing) is, according to the report, says “Really what I want to focus on doing is empowering women and other Australians with the strategies and the information that they need to be able to effectively combat this,”

Now this may well be the case, but to my mind, the way the story has been portrayed is that drone technology was used to actually find the woman and her children, which of course is nonsense unless there has been a rapid development of “Hunter / Seeker” know-how as used in the Dune science fiction series.

Let’s try and keep everything in perspective, shall we? Sure, he may (or may not) be using a drone to monitor her movements, in itself an illegal use and CASA should crack down immediately – it’s not that hard to discover who is piloting a specific drone – but you could say the same of mobile phone technology and other devices, which to be fair the article does point out further into the story. Find My Phone is an example (and mentioned in the story) as are smart TVs, car trackers (illegal)

Simply picking on drones is counterproductive in my view.

By the way, if you do feel unsafe because of the potential use of technology, the eSafety Commissioner has a special eSafety women’s site and will soon launch an online training portal for workers.

Ms Inman Grant said the site’s focus was on prevention and using technology appropriately in safe places, while acknowledging that for others it can be a lifeline.

“Technology-facilitated abuse is really abuse and its impact can be really devastating really, really damaging,” she said.

Note: I am NOT suggesting that circumstances aided by technology can place people in danger or at least in fear. But a lack of understanding can be equally as damaging where no such threat is there in reality. Get things checked by experts is my tip, and don’t simply rely on hearsay.

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