Google and Amazon seek to “own” airspace by de facto kicking out radio control model airplane hobbyists #Drones #modelaircraft #airplanes #stem

Google, Amazon and others have asked Congress to require that model aircraft hobbyists be Federally licensed pilots and place radio transponders on all model aircraft. This would apply to everyone from the 8 ounce toys flown by children the legislation may ban youth from flying radio control aircraft) to typical hobby model planes.

Model airplane enthusiasts have been flying model aircraft since before the FAA was formed and have a safety record better than any other category of aircraft…. by far.

Google and Amazon are attempting to seize airspace for their own commercial operations. In economics this is classic rent-seeking behavior where industry intends to use regulation to seize assets (and profits) for itself. While Amazon and Google reap the financial benefits, the costs would be borne by hobbyists who receive no benefits.

Google and Amazon are hinting via their lobbying request that their drone technology does not actually work to see and avoid other aircraft – unless all other aircraft carry beacon transponders. This is akin to self driving car proponents (Uber, Tesla, Google, Apple, Amazon) requiring all cars carry transponders so their own self driving vehicles will work. It is similar to say, having cellular phone companies demand that all Wi-Fi users be licensed. This is known as a “land grab” by those who seek to use government’s power to seize others’ assets for their commercial operations.

Go here to send email and find phone numbers of Congressional representatives. Contact them urgently as this matter may be up for a vote shortly.

Source: Protect Section 336 – Don’t let Google repeal Section 336!

Update: The US House of Representatives approved H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Bill, and retained protections for hobby flyers of radio controlled model aircraft. The bill will next go to the US Senate, which may not occur for several months, and then to a conference committee to negotiate differences between the House and Senate version of the bill. Approval is expected before the end of September, when current spending authority for the FAA ends.

Commercial #Drone Alliance (Google, Amazon, CNN, etc) asks Congress to require all hobby Radio Control aircraft operators to be Federally licensed, have transponders on models #Drones


To put this in a different context, this is like requiring a Federal license to operate a Wi-Fi transmitter in your tablet or notebook computer.  In the US, manned ultralight aircraft fly – license free – under FAA Part 103 rules. Not everything needs to be Federally licensed.

Not including study materials and time, it currently costs about $150 to sit for the FAA Part 107 license exam

Ironically, companies like Google and Amazon routinely object to regulations concerning their business operations but are happy to regulate others. In this case, Google and Amazon are seeking to, de facto, eliminate all other users of the air space. This rule would apply to everyone, including kids playing with model aircraft and quadcopters, which would largely eliminate many flyable toys, and presumably even kites.

“Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley”

Says M.G. Siegler, Google Ventures General Partner

There’s something that has been in the back of my mind for some time now. And while it pre-dates the Facebook fiasco, that situation certainly brings it to the forefront. Increasingly, it feels like people in our industry, the tech industry, are losing touch with reality.

Source: Arrogance Peaks in Silicon Valley – 500ish Words

I earned an MBA in mid-life. Prior to that I was a software engineer and software project manager. Up until then, everything in life was in need of a high tech solution – because, as you’ve heard, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Every where I looked I saw opportunities for more tech and more software. Earning the MBA broadened my perspective to see more opportunities that did not require more tech to make life better. I suspect my brain was wired much the same as everyone else drunk on tech.

We see this phenomena today when, in response to nearly every question about Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg responds with “More artificial intelligence will solve this!” It won’t solve it, but it sounds good to people in tech.

When techies sort of realize that they collect a lot of personal data and privacy might be an issue, they collectively decide that privacy no longer matters. Really?

They seem oblivious – to the point of not caring – about the dangerous and reckless way their technology is used to wreak havoc on the world around us. This is the problem that M.G. Siegler is writing about in his blog post.

Yahoo Email spies on people who do not give consent to their privacy policy

Yahoo spies on people who never consented to Yahoo’s privacy policy. They say this right in their new privacy policy.

“Oath analyzes and stores all communications content, including email content from incoming and outgoing mail.”

This means Yahoo is reading and storing the email of people who have sent email to you, and who themselves are not users of Yahoo nor have they agreed to Yahoo’s Privacy Policy as a condition of service.

When ever you send email to someone using a Yahoo email address, Yahoo is reading and storing your email without your permission.


23andMe gathers data from users on health conditions and treatments

23andMe wants users to rate their treatments for some conditions such as depression and asthma in a new feature the genetics testing company unveiled today.

Source: 23andMe gathers data on health conditions and treatments

In light of so much lack of privacy, should people really be sharing their personal health information online with anyone?

Information collected by Facebook and others is not used solely for our benefit but sometimes is used against us.

As I noted on my SocialPanic blog, even though I have 3 of the most sought after university degrees in the United States (computer science, software engineering graduate degree, MBA), I never saw a high tech job ad on Facebook. Ever!

As described on my other blog, high tech recruiters were targeting specific age ranges, typically age 24-35 or so, and intentionally not showing ads to older workers. By doing this, they rarely received applications from older workers, enabling them to discriminate on the basis of age without being caught.

This is an example of how seemingly innocent information can and is used against us.