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Comment Who's going to police it? (Score 4, Insightful) 110

Even if a global treaty is struck to declare privacy a basic human right -- who is going to provide the oversight, who will punish those that breach the treaty and how will such punishment be administered?

Reality check: There's just no way this is going to work.

Aren't there global treaties that outlaw torture?

What happens at Gitmo, who is punished for the violations and how is that punishment metered out?

This, I am afraid, is nothing more than an exercise in futility. We have already lost our right to privacy and the only way it will return is probably by way of an armed uprising.

If our grandfathers and great-grandfathers could see just how many of the rights and freedoms they fought to protect have now been lost in the name of "safety" and "security", they'd turn in their graves.

Comment Re:Easy (Score 1, Insightful) 381

Damn... you beat me to it.

At least in N.Korea they don't try to hide the fact that this is a corrupt dictatorial government which acts solely in its own best interests.

Elsewhere -- it's exactly the same -- except that they pretend they have a democracy.

N.Korea's government (ie: Kimmy boy) uses execution as a tool for lifting compliance -- but hey, don't many US states do the same thing and call it "justice"?

Let's face it, far too many of our politicians and those who purport to be "representing" us in a democratic system have simply become the paid puppets of corporations and special interest groups.

At election time, we just get to choose which group of puppets will pretend to have our interests at heart.

Comment What about my privacy? (Score 2) 75

Noooo.... a drone-mower?

Surely this will have "high powered" cameras onboard that will violate my privacy and how long before one of these mowers jumps a berm, soars into the air and brings down a commercial passenger jet?

Don't you people read the carefully researched and highly objective news stories on the dangers of drones????

But please, ignore this guy Chris Manno, what would he know... he's just an ex-USAF pilot who now flies commercial airliners for American Airlines. He clearly has no credibility when compared to the deluded ravings of some lowly intern in a tabloid newspaper or some government regulator who's hell-bent on restricting any freedoms they may have overlooked last year.

Comment Sadly, he is right. (Score 5, Interesting) 90

Hi have no real opinions for or against KD -- I can see both sides of the argument.

However, there is one area where he is absolutely right -- and that's the issue of corruption running rife within the US and NZ governments. In fact, the list of "unlawful" actions that the NZ government or its agencies have been found to conduct is growing almost on a daily basis. I often wondered what the difference was between "unlawful" and "illegal" - and have since worked it out.

Illegal is when a mere citizen breaks the law. Illegal activities are punished by fines or incarceration.

Unlawful is when the government or one of its agencies breaks the law. Unlawful activities carry no censure or punishment. The government automatically excuses itself from the provisions of the laws which "mere citizens" must obey without question. Does this really seem fair -- to have those who make and enforce the laws effectively placed "beyond the law"? Surely they should actually be held to a higher standard of accountability -- not effectively given the right to dictate that "mere citizens" must "do as we say, not as we do".

The irrefutable evidence of corruption and blatant self-interest within government is clear to see for anyone who takes an interest. The sad thing is that the majority of the population has been "dumbed down" to the point where they either can't see or don't care about what's being done to them.

This is a "frog in a pan" scenario. Over successive generations, many western governments have slowly eroded the rights of their populations and reconfigured the economy and laws in a way that benefits the rich at the cost of the poor. While things may not seem too different to the way they were 10 years ago, I bet that if you took someone from the mid 1940s (who'd risked their life to protect the rights and freedoms of the Western World), they would be outraged that so much of what *they* fought for has been surrendered so readily by people.

When billions of dollars were effectively stolen by bankers -- who paid the price and who was punished?

Innocent depositors and the "poor" paid the price but virtually none of those who committed the crimes were held to account.

Socialize debt, privatize profit -- that's the mantra of today's world and it's something which is a clear indicator that governments are no longer serving to represent citizens. Governments now represent only those who can afford to lobby them and bribe them.

In the 1950s it was "reds under the bed" -- today it's corporate USA who are the unseen but very real enemy of the people (of all countries).

I suggest that *everyone* watches a documentary called "SuperPower". It has some *very* interesting facts that deliver irrefutable proof of exactly how the democratic process is just a farce.

Comment Old tech is good tech (Score 1) 120

And this is why I use a $9 phone that has support for nothing other than voice calls and plaintext SMS. Not only is it free from the effects of such exploits but the battery also lasts two weeks between charges, it fits very nicely in even the smallest pocket and doesn't distract me when I should be working or spending time with friends and family.

I only upgraded to this phone because I found the cranking handle on the side of my old phone was snagging on my pocket and the operator was sometimes very slow to respond with "number please" when I tried to summon her attention :-)

Comment Re:We need better legislation (Score 1) 102

That is already being done. Many "store bought" drones will refuse to fly within the regulated "no fly" distance from documented airfields and most reasonable craft *do* have an auto-land facility that kicks in when the battery gets low.

There's no more point in banning drones than there is in banning butter-knives. Both are useful and very safe ways to perform a task -- however, both can be MISUSED when in the hands of idiots. Far better that we simply make sure that any idiot who misuses *any* technology is dealt with appropriately. The only alternative to ensuring public safety is to have us all fitted with straightjackets and locked into our own private padded rooms -- for our safety.

Submission + - Don't bring your drone to New Zealand (

NewtonsLaw writes: Drones such as the Lilly Camera, DJI Phamtom and (to a lesser extent, because of its size) DJI Inspire are changing the way we experience our vacations. Instead of toting along a camcorder or a 35mm DSLR, more and more people are just packing a GoPro and, increasingly, a drone on which to mount it.

This is fine if you're going to a drone-friendly country but be warned that (when/if they finally ship), your Lilly Camera will get you into big trouble in Thailand (where all use of drones by the public is banned outright) and now New Zealand, where strict new laws regarding the operation of drones and even tiny toys like the 20g Cheerson CX10, come into effect on August 1.

Under these new rules, nobody can operate a drone or model aircraft without getting the prior consent of the owner over which property it is intended to fly — and (this is the kicker) also the permission of the occupiers of that property. So you can effectively forget about flying down at the local park, at scenic locations or just about any public place. Even if you could manage to get the prior permission of the land-owner, because we're talking "public place", you'd also have to get the permission of anyone and everyone who was also in the area where you intended to fly.

Other countries have produced far more sane regulations — such as limiting drone and RC model operators to flying no closer than 30m from people or buildings — but New Zealand's CAA have gone right over the top and imposed what amounts to a virtual death-sentence on a hobby that has provided endless, safe fun for boys (and girls) of all ages for more than 50 decades.

Of course if you are prepared to pay a $600 fee to become "Certified" by CAA then the restrictions on where you can fly are lifted and you don't need those permissions. It seems that the government here is taking away our rights and simply selling them back to us as "privileges" that can be purchased by paying a fist-full of cash to the appropriate government agency.

When reading the linked news story, remember that as far as CAA in New Zealand is concerned, *everything* that flies and is remotely controlled is now deemed to be a "drone" — so that includes everything from a tiny 20g toy quadcopter to a huge octocopter.

Comment Re:I'm all for recreational drone use but... (Score 1) 72

Well that's a load of mis-information for a start.

An increasing number of multirotors are using carbon-fiber propellers which are quite strong in all directions and even the small plastic ones can draw blood. Check out this video at 4:26... and we're talking about very small (just over 1lb) craft with tiny (5-inch) plastic propellers.

Comment Re:Feinstein as usual (Score 1) 164

What's needed is *education* -- not regulation.

Most people don't deliberately endanger the lives of others just for fun -- most do it out of ignorance of the risks and potential outcomes.

Just as the rates of smoking have dropped enormously since we began educating folks as to the dangers -- so we need to educate the neophyte and ignorant drone operators as to their responsibilities and obligations in respect to the public's safety.

The situation regarding "near misses" is a *lot* more complex than most of the public realize.

For example, the various pilots groups around the world are acting *very* politically to try and get drones virtually regulated out of existence. Why? Because they know full-well that these craft represent a direct threat to their livelihoods -- more so than the threat to their lives. To this end, virtually *any* sighting of an unidentified flying object is now called a "near miss with a drone". I recall when they were once all depicted as flying saucer incidents -- but now "drone" is the scapegoat de jour.

The media has also enjoyed depicting these craft as evil and likely to bring down airliners all over the world. This kind of sensationalist sizzle attracts eyeballs and that's what the media is after. Forget objectivity, research and facts -- anything goes in the quest for $$$$.

So let's look at the facts...

These craft have been around for quite a few years now and are being flown all over the world. So how many times *have* they crashed into full-sized aircraft?

None. Zero. Zilch, not a single actual collision between an aircraft and a drone.

Compare this to the number of bird-strikes encountered every year. Birdstrike accounts for about $1.4 billion of damage ($900M in the USA alone) inflicted on full-sized aircraft each year and have caused over 250 deaths since 1988.

Remember the numbers for drones: zero, none, zilch -- and not a red cent.

Over 11,000 bird-strike incidents (with full-sized aircraft) were reported in 2013. During that same period the number for drone-strikes was... ZERO!

We all remember the United flight that crashed into the Hundson river as a result of bird-strike. Not a recreational drone to be seen at the time.

The bottom line is that yes, there is a small degree of risk associated with the use of recreational drones but it is very, very clear that those who fear for their jobs and those who want to sell the sensational have both worked to grossly over-state the magnitude of this problem.

Of course there will always be idiots who act in a way that endangers the safety of others. However, even under existing laws, the act of reckless endangerment covers that type of activity -- whether it's done with a drone, a car or an axe.

Once drones are made illegal, only the criminals will have them. Now is that a situation we really want?

Never underestimate the stupidity of a politician -- history is filled with evidence as to the risks associated with doing so.

Cite for some of the stats used above

Comment Re:Of course not. (Score -1, Troll) 307

The scary thing is that these days, you can't trust a single-thing that the US government says or does -- so why would you think that this was a new thing?

To he honest, I don't know if the moon landings were faked but, given the technology of the day (especially computer tech), I for one would *never* have signed up to be an astronaut on those missions.

Given the way governments of the world have proven themselves to be highly deceptive and untrustworty and much as I'd love to believe that all the stuff I saw as a kid in respect to the moon landings was true... there *has* to be a haunting doubt in the back of my mind.

I'm not going to say either way -- except that I would *not* be surprised if the conspiracy theorists were, at some stage in the distant future, proven right.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan