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Comment Re:Do you want me to code, or deal with the suits? (Score 1) 314

This is exactly correct. Everywhere I've worked, anyone up to the CEO can be asking me or any other technical staff whether something is possible, what it would take, etc. Pretty much "the boss's" only function in this regard ends up being to ferry the message back and forth between the technical staff and the executives, so what's the point in not asking directly?

Comment Re:Why are people going to jail for this? (Score 1) 664

At 10' and 50', the airspace is definitely the private property of the property owner and flying in that space is definitely trespassing. (In fact the Supreme Court ruled that 83' was definitely trespassing.) Above that is an unknown grey area, because the Supreme Court has not ruled on an upper limit to private property and the FAA has not set a lower limit to public airspace either (aside from the 500' limit where regulated, navigable airspace begins).

Comment Re:Why are people going to jail for this? (Score 1) 664

You're right, it's not clear WHERE public airspace begins, but according to the Supreme Court, at 83 feet above the ground it definitely IS trespassing. They declined to define an upper limit, and the FAA has not defined a lower limit below the public but controlled airspace above 500 feet, so we can infer that it must be somewhere between 83 and 500 feet. It's never been that frequent or big an issue but now is probably the time to set in writing where that lower limit is that defines "trespassing" vs "not trespassing".

Comment Re:Only? (Score 1) 664

I agree, and of course there's the grey area where we don't know where private property ends up in the air. It's somewhere between 83 and 500 feet, but nobody has yet defined where exactly it starts. I think that's something the FAA is going to have to define if they don't want a lot of conflict and the Supreme Court to eventually do it for them. (And the Supreme Court declined to set a specific limit in the case in which they definitively ruled that 83 feet above the ground was trespassing on private property, so they're not likely to want to come up with a number either.) I'd vote for 200 feet, but I could see them setting it lower.

Comment Re:Deliverance? (Score 1) 664

At what point does the airspace above my property become public? 200ft? 50ft? What about 5ft? 2 inches?

It's clear that the FAA considers airspace above 500ft to be public airspace regulated by the FAA, and that drones must operate below that (without special permission), but they have not set a lower limit on altitude. (Private property rights is not the FAA's concern.) On the other hand, the Supreme Court has considered 83 feet above the ground to be definitely trespassing on private property, though they declined to specify an upper limit. So probably at least 100 feet, maybe more, and certainly under 500ft (it apparently hasn't been tested legally).

I think we need to define a "dronespace", perhaps 200-500 feet above the ground or at least 100ft over the top of a building, as a corridor for drone use that neither requires a pilot's license and flight plan nor is considered trespassing (or a public nuisance, when over public space occupied by people). Drones taking off and landing would need to follow rules which mirror the common sense used in the past, like a large enough open area where it's not interfering with or causing safety issues or annoyance for other people, but it seems that common sense is not always enough and specific rules may need to be made.

This, of course, could pose difficulties for Amazon or others who wish to use automated drones pervasively if they want to take off and land practically anywhere. And in my opinion, it should. But I can see it being used for remote deliveries to rural areas, or deliveries to significant-sized businesses or tall rooftops where it's prearranged, expected, and not likely to interfere with young children, pets, random passersby, etc. (or for it and its merchandise to be stolen randomly when the intended recipient doesn't pick it up or meet it right away...)

Comment Re:Ain't it bizarre? (Score 1) 176

That's possible too. I just think there will likely be a lot of conflict, and a lot of stories of problems caused by drones, shot-down drones, new regulations (or attempts at regulation), etc. until such time as they're all autonomous and always following those regulations like TWX suggests. I do agree the technology and economics point to ubiquitous drones in the future, it's more a matter of getting to that point. Everyone, including the FAA, has a lot to learn about how this will all work. And I suspect that, like the Internet, there's going to continue to be ongoing battles to keep them from being electronically hijacked (they're part of the IoT too...), or just breaking the rules to use them in criminal or damaging ways.

Comment Re:Ain't it bizarre? (Score 1) 176

When people started flying said drones over other people's houses and property, and when they started interfering with flight operations, aerial firefighting, etc. It's not the technology, but the behavior, and the behavior probably results from a lack of clear laws surrounding their use.

They seem "harmless" at first, when you're just playing around with them, or when a few photographers use them for cool things, but we've seen already that they have the real potential, even likelihood, of being a real nuisance and menace to privacy, operations of manned aircraft, firefighting, etc.

I think ultimately, either the FAA is going to wrest control and the things are just going to be illegal to fly higher than about 20 feet in the air, anywhere in the US, without a license, or else the rules will be clear that above a certain height they're regulated and licensed, and below that, if you fly over someone else's property, it's trespassing and that person's right to do whatever the heck they want with it (in addition that you could be arrested for it), and if you bother people in a public place that's violating the law too.

Comment Re:Constituional Rights (Score 1) 268

Sure, if you like supporting an unscientific 'blame-the-victim for us having around 10x the rate of gun deaths as any other country when it's really just because we have so many guns" group of asshats who like to distort the constitution, and cherry-picked statistics, for their own ends.

Comment Better avenues that public disclosure (Score 4, Insightful) 230

There are a few avenues I don't hear people talk much about using, which I think would be far more effective and appropriate, without the ethical issues of public disclosure (which I think is rarely ever justified). I'd strongly urge anyone to exhaust all these avenues before even considering the typical public disclosure of a flaw's vulnerabilities. I have a hard time thinking of ANY circumstance in which it would be ethical to publicize an unfixed flaw before there is clear evidence someone else is already exploiting it.

  1. 1. Try to notify technical contacts, who can most efficiently and cheaply understand and fix the problem, with the least embarrassment or hassle.
  2. 2. Notify the legal department, outside counsel, accountants or auditors. They are responsible for dealing with risks to the company, and to certifying proper controls over financial or customer information.
  3. 3. Try to notify executive management directly.
  4. 4. Contact government and other regulatory or certifying bodies, such as PCI (for anyone handling credit cards), SEC (for public companies), FTC, Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
  5. 5. Report it to CERT.
  6. 6. If you're a customer, (politely) threaten to take your business elsewhere (or actually do it), or have your attorney send them a letter threatening to sue for putting your information or money at risk. You could threaten to make it a class action too. (Note that you'd need to be an affected customer to have standing to sue.)
  7. 7. Any public disclosure you may be tempted to make, go through a news organization, who will verify the information, contact the company for comment, and weigh the ethical pros and cons of how to tell the story effectively without revealing so much information as to do harm. Some "on your side" segments on local TV news might work well for this.
  8. 8. If you want to publish or comment publicly yourself, consult your attorney, and limit yourself to saying that there is a vulnerability, but not any details about it. But you can particularly publicize the company's (non-)response to it.
  9. 9. If you can document that someone else is already exploiting the flaw, you could report on the exploitation that's occurring, without being the one to expose the vulnerability.
  10. 10. And of course once the flaw is fixed, you could discuss it more widely as well.


Comment This describes modern web development (Score 1) 158

In the last couple of years, this has become the one and only true and accepted way to do web development, either on the front end or on the server side. It's probably the biggest reason (aside from chronic underestimation of all projects) that I'm getting sick of being a web developer.

There can be no twisted thought without a twisted molecule. -- R. W. Gerard