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Published On: Thu, Dec 5th, 2013

Amazon drone delivery program creates a divide over privacy and Jeff Bezos

The announcement of Amazon using drones to deliver packages has riled privacy watchdogs, some journalists and even certain members of Congress.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos discussed the so-called “Octocopters” in an interview on CBS 60 Minutes, and claimed that the drones would not be ready to take flight for another four or five years. However, after the interview aired, Amazon released a statement promising that “Prime Air vehicles will be as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today.”

“I know this looks like science fiction. It’s not,” Bezos said in the CBS interview with Charlie Rose. “It drops the package. You come and get your package and we can do half-hour deliveries.”

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) responded to the news on the floor of the House of Representatives, saying: “Think of how many drones could soon be flying around the sky. Here a drone, there a drone, everywhere a drone in the United States.… The issue of concern, Mr. Speaker, is surveillance, not the delivery of packages. That includes surveillance of someone’s backyard, snooping around with a drone, checking out a person’s patio to see if that individual needs new patio furniture from the company.”

In the Senate, Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has proposed a drone privacy bill. “Before drones start delivering packages, we need the FAA to deliver privacy protections for the American public,” Markey said in a statement.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations currently prohibit the kind of flights Bezos proposes that Prime Air octocopters undertake. However, rule changes could come as early as 2015. 

Bezos said that the vehicles currently being tested have a range of ten miles and can carry products under five pounds, which he estimates make up 86 percent of Amazon’s inventory. 

Nick Barber, a writer for PCWorld, points out that the drones have to take off from Amazon delivery centers, almost all of which are located far from major population centers. “That means if you’re one of the 10,000 people who live in Coffeyville, Kan., or Campbellsville, Ky., then you’re in luck,” Barber writes. “But residents of New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and other big cities can forget about Prime Air service unless Amazon expands its distribution footprint.”

 

Octocopter for aerial drone  photography Image/Video Screen Shot

Octocopter for aerial drone photography
Image/Video Screen Shot

 

 

 

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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