Amazon 'Prime Air' could be the first step toward a postal service free of surveillance.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos [went] on 6o Minutes Sunday night and reveal[ed] a “secret R&D project: The beginning of Silk Air Road? ‘Octocopter’ drones that will fly packages directly to your doorstep in 30 minutes.” Yup. an autonomous drone delivery service that would use GPS coordinates to navigate, called Amazon “Prime Air.”
After the shock and awe wore off, many commentators immediately pointed out that this is currently illegal. While the po-po and government entities are allowed to fly drones if they obtain authorization from the FAA, private use of drones is limited to hobbyists, and they have to keep the drones under 400
feet and within their line of sight. But that’s just a temporary hang-up. Congress has ordered the FAA to clear the skyway for commercial use of drones by 2015. So, yes, Amazon will be able to get emergency diapers, toilet paper, or s-pound gummy bears (depending on the Octocopter’s weight limits) to you in 30 minutes (and Google will be able to launch ‘Drone Map’, and Facebook will be able to launch ‘Drone Stalk’, and on and on).
Law enforcement may already be gritting its teeth over the idea of legal drone delivery though. Being
able to send things by drone could be hugely disruptive to the existing mail system: a peer-to-peer postal service that cuts out the USPS and FedEx. That’s fine when Amazon is shipping out books, but what about the kind of deliveries that law enforcement wants to be able to track? The existing
postal system is full of surveillance.