Consumer drones are everywhere, making headlines around sports events, demonstrations, agriculture and Christmas trees. They are also one more technology where inequality, security and surveillance will come to the fore. Already, major drone manufacturers are beginning to implement no-fly zones for airports, the White House and other sensitive areas. Those zones are places where you won’t be able to fly a drone, as the unit “pings” satellites for its GPS coordinates, checking those against a list and blocking movement within the area.
It’s not a big leap of logic to think that some building owners—those with expensive towers in city cores—will want to prevent eavesdropping by paying to be added to no-fly lists. It’s also easy to think that some gated communities and rich suburbs will do the same. If that doesn’t suffice, electronic countermeasures are sure to be the next step, jamming communications between controller and drone and preventing entry to some areas. As Geoff Manaugh put it in BldgBlog:
The truly high-end residential developments of tomorrow will be electromagnetically fortified, impervious to drones, and, unless you’ve been invited there, impossible for your cars and cellphones even to find.
At that stage, are the rich and powerful the only ones who can afford privacy?