The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International released a code of conduct today. The short version? Be safe, follow the rules, respect others. You should read it for yourself. It’s short and to the point.
As with most things, the devil is in the details. What does “properly trained” pilots mean? What standard of privacy are we respecting? Of course, these things will change by the jurisdiction. There’s lots of questions to be answered.
But, one thing that came to my mind is this: The best of journalism is often done in spite of the government, over and against the interests of the powerful. What happens when the public interest and the interests of the government come into conflict? What happens when, say, a government doesn’t want people to see something, so they close down the area to keep journalists out, but those journalists have access to a UAV? Where do the lines get drawn then? Is there a First Amendment argument in UAVs?