“Drones should be banned from private use” – Google’s Eric Schmidt

Uavsticker Med-4

Drones should be banned from private use, says Google’s Eric Schmidt.

“You’re having a dispute with your neighbour,” he hypothesised. “How would you feel if your neighbor went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?”

Your next door neighbor is going to fly it over your house because of a dispute? So all private UAVs should be banned?

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  1. I agree (if Google in return agrees to a strict no-spying, no-datahoarding policy)!

    Honestly: I think Mr. Schmidt has had a beer in excess. If I’m in a dispute with my neighbor I will get a pole and tie a camera to that. I won’t waste my LiPos on hovering over their property. So why not regulate long poles first?

  2. I think we already have laws that deal with such behavior (harassment.) My drone would track road conditions near my favorite rock-hounding sites in rural Utah.

  3. There are property rights which need to be determined. I suspect shotguns would eliminate the problem of harassing drones.

    But consider – the amazon delivery drone is amazon’s property -or is it? It uses my airspace unless it flys very high. Is it piracy to hijack the drone or its cargo? Is it “abandoned” if a human isn’t around or it malfunctions and lands in my back yard (or worse – crashes into my car and its lithium batteries catch fire)? We require airbags and other safety equipment in cars. You could not build a hackable car with all the regulations. Do you favor such or not? Drones can cause damage and death if things go wrong. Enough regulation and you have a virtual ban, at least if you aren’t amazon or google (or Ford, Chrysler, or GM).

    Things like easements, rights of way, bailments, all took a while to solidify.

    Even if there are no regulations as such (my hope), there need to be ordinary property and liability rules spelled out..

  4. One word… SAM!

    Why do we fear how people can misuse technology to the point where we consider banning it. With the right misguidance, a spoon can be deadly (or at least an intolerable nuisance). Yet we always seem to jump directly to censorship/regulation. There will always be those that are misguided no matter the subject. Maybe we should consider banning them 🙂


  5. To benchmark, this comes from a man who has a fleet of autonomous vehicles taking pictures along the roads.

    Who has satellites taking photos of every square meter of the Earth.

    Who has acres of servers collecting every bit of information about people’s online activity.

    Who’s on record saying that people need to give up the idea of having privacy.

    Call me Mr Suspicious, but I think he’s more concerned about competition from the little guys than about any right of the individual.

  6. I’m pretty sure that “UAVs” are already covered by assorted regulations aimed at more conventional model planes (or perhaps non-model planes as well.) And there are LOTS of such rules. Here’s a story from a nearby town – they decide to permit SOME flying, of SOME types of plane, at a PARK, on a couple of days a week…


    (note the nod to STEM…)
    I doubt that any new regulations are necessary.
    (And this probably means that flying tiny little drones or helicoptors in your own back yard is about one angry neighbor away from having the police show up and tell you to stop.)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.