Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
UK to bring in drone registration (bbc.co.uk)
68 points by dan1234 on July 22, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

I act as an advisor for DronesBench http://www.dronesbench.com and we think there should also be some sort of drone efficiency certification for the consumer market (from 250g to about 4kg, under 250g they are toys according to EASA legislation draft), same as other electro-mechanical devices or machines, with a concise parameter to be sported on the drone's plate. Too much a difference from the value declared by the vendor may imply hidden defects of the drone and therefore the possibility of a crash. We are actively proposing our DronesBench Index to IEEE and EASA for the legislation to come, with encouraging response from IEEE at the preliminary level. It remains to be seen if and how things progress in a formal way.

I'd love to see noise regulation. Nothing more irritating than being somewhere peaceful and beautiful when a couple of douchey drone flyers decide to ruin the quiet

"Noise regulation" is just a euphemism for "ban drones" since drones are always noisy.

Well then, ban drones.

This is why I usually carry a toilet roll.


I am all for reducing noise in our environment. But you hardly hear my copters if a car or motorcycle passes. Most AC makes more noise.

I don't understand this irrational phobia. Is the fact that it is flying triggering some deeper mechanisms in the brain?

It reminds me of my two year old's reaction to wasps.

The gp isn't expressing fear, but annoyance. As you well know but choose to misrepresent.

You are a nuisance. Your comment reminds me of a two year old's reaction to being asked to stop running around screaming.

Most AC isn't in secluded places of outstanding natural beauty, where drones increasingly are.

And many ACs break noise rules (often 40db in residential areas).

OT: Is it just me who does not see huge business opportunies in drones?

Don't get me wrong. Drones made a huge leap the recent years and from a hardware manufacturer's POV there is business. There is also great stuff like drone races, drone cams and selfie cam drones.

But will there be really much more? Are safety concerns, public regulation and limited use cases in many areas (such as urban areas) giving drones a hard time?

Drone registration could actually boost the drone-business market.

Businesses should welcome registration because people won't just look at it and think "well I could do that myself!" because of the additional hurdle; hurdles that businesses will happily jump through. It'll separate drones more clearly into "toy" grade drones and business grade drones.

The businesses for drones are anywhere that you want equipment (particularly cameras but not necessarily) that previously it was too difficult or expensive to put a person for either due to practicality or safety reasons.

Drones are now reasonably cheap self-stabilising mobile platforms. They won't be going away, they'll just be incorporated into other businesses where appropriate. It's easy to laugh at drone-races and selfie-cams but as drones become more reliable, more efficient and quieter they'll just naturally find use cases.

That hurdle already exists in the UK in the form of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) certification (AKA Remote Pilot Competence), which requires passing a theory test, a practical test on the specific equipment that will be flown commercially, as well as development of an Operations Manual that is reviewed as part of the certification process. Commercial insurance is also required.

What the proposed registration process is attempting to address is the misuse of hobby multi-rotors.

The difficulty the it faces is in retrofitting it to an existing market. Those who are too dumb or ignorant to fly legally (and since multi-rotors have become too easy to acquire and fly, there are many), are going to be the ones who also fail to register.

Requiring registration prior to purchase is one possibility, and having mandatory geo-fencing on all new systems seems like the only way to gradually introduce a system that restricts use in controlled airspace, and over populated areas, but it will never be able to account for every scenario in which people insist on breaking the law, invading privacy or putting others at risk of injury.

Regulation works wonders for incumbents most days of the week.

Delivery companies are probably the largest potential users IMO.

Imagine the potential chaos if all those the Deliveroo/Just eat drivers were replaced with drones heading to and from restaurants and takeaways with no formally defined routes.

That won't happen you can't fly drones in London outside of a few designated areas which are registered flying fields.

It might work in less dense populated areas but I don't see drone delivery as a thing in any U.K. city ever happening.

Drone Wars - Robot Wars in 3D.

Airmageddon, made by the same person as Robot Wars. I was on there. :)


I generally don't have a problem the idea of registration, but 250g is way too low a limit. If 2.2kg is the FAA's lowest risk category, the limit should be closer to that.

It's not a limit. 250g is the minimum weight at which drones are regulated. There would be little point in a new law which excludes drones under 2.2 kg as that is nearly all drones.

FAA is not a good example to cite either as their position on drones is a total mess and their existing regulations are a patchwork of legacy rules designed to cover model aircraft.

> It's not a limit. 250g is the minimum weight at which drones are regulated.

So 250g is the maximum limit for unregulated drones.

>The plans also include the extension of geo-fencing, in which no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as prisons and airports.

So will open source drone firmware become illegal?

Not if it includes geofencing, obviously. There might be an opportunity to alter/delete the geofence, but that would not be different in a legal sense from "chipping" a moped for example. The chippability of mopeds does not make all mopeds illegal and selling properly geofenced drones with open source firmware would also be legal. Altering a drone to remove the geofencing and then flying it would be illegal though.

Currently mentoring a startup in this space (not in the UK). For us it's because of mandatory insurance for 3rd party liability, and as a non-drone owner who's seen plenty of idiots wielding them, I'm all for it.

I prefer the light touch (ala Mopeds/Scooters) where it's simple and easy, insurance at a flat rate, easy to transfer ownership. Something akin to cars with a v5 document, etc would be overkill.

I don't really have an opinion on the weight limits, how much does something have to weigh to take out an eye, or cause a motor vehicle to crash?

how much does something have to weigh to take out an eye, or cause a motor vehicle to crash?

I think things should be put in to context a bit. Seaguls where I live usually weigh more than 1-1.5Kg, and they are arguably more dangerous to be around if you happen to be a child holding an icecream!

Great point, in fact I've been bird struck whilst riding a motorcycle and that's DANGEROUS.

I dare say though that I trust the bird's self preservation instinct more than I trust flakey wifi and an FPV pilot somewhere a few hundred meters away.

Portugal will introduce drone registration and insurance as well.

Yeah, I'm just waiting to see how that will be enforced.

Like everywhere else, it will be irrelevant in practice. But some lawyers made their career step.

If some people would adhere to speed limits like they praise "drone regulations", the world would actually be safer.

Cant believe its taking this long... and only in the UK! these things can be retrofitted to be _dangerous!_

>only in the UK

I'm kind of offended here. Motherland Russia had this first!

I can't tell if this comment is sarcastic or not. Could you expound on this a bit? What kind of retrofitting are you talking about, and how would registration help? The US also has drone registration as of a year or two ago, under the FAA. I'm not really sure what that accomplishes either, though. They might just be gradually ramping up to more aggressive restrictions.

The FAA registration was actually struck down (as of May 2017) for violating the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. The FAA is explicitly barred from regulating hobby model aircraft.

Interestingly, the FAA still promulgates the notion that you have to pay them $5 for the privilege of flying.

Could you, I don't know, require a license on high power handheld lasers? I see imbeciles shining what looks like 100+ mW laser pens (very cheap, very easy to get) on people.

Now, I don't like laws banning stuff, but these handheld 150-2000 mW lasers can seriously damage someone's eyes. And I'm not going to risk blindness or poor eyesight for the rest of my life because some idiot thought it looked cool.

What's a legitimate use for them? It seems to me that they exist only because "high power, fuck yeah". 50mW is enough for pointing at stuff, and you need industrial lasers to cut something.

Shining them in the sky and at people is already illegal, technically, but this is a real case where preventing purchase would be better.

I used to own a bunch of 750 - 5000 mW portable (pen, and a plugin) lasers.

Historically, I've used them for stargazing (i.e. pointing out stars for other people to look at), burning / igniting things I don't want to get near (and where I'm too lazy to remote ignite), and engraving.

And acid

What's a legitimate usage of acid? Plenty. Cooking. Engraving. Cleaning.

License means More Tax.

Why am I not surprised?

- Car License.

- TV License.

- Remember Personal Radios needed a License.

- Gun License.

- Travel License (passport).

Now Drone License. sigh

What else can the UK Government think of taxing?

I mean, most of those make sense - a 'car licence' (I assume you mean road tax?) pays for roads (in theory). A TV licence pays for the BBC. A radio licence presumably paid for the BBC before there were TVs. Passport fees pay for embassies and other foreign services.

It is hard to see how an expensive drone licence would be justified though.

TV licence is a big nuisance, and to me it's just old media clinging on to the power it holds. I go home and accidentally start streaming through the BBC iPlayer (I wanted to watch a catch up program but my finger slipped), am I breaking the law? Am I considered a criminal by the state?

If they want to enforce this properly they need to do it at the device level. If I'm not supposed to watch TV then make it impossible for me not to do so, put a login behind it or something.

Not to mention the ABSURD methods they go to intimidate you into paying, even when you don't watch live television (in my case, I don't even own an aerial cable), every month I get a threatening, amateur looking, in red writing, letter telling me about my crimes and that I will just end up in court.... If I kept these letters I'd have to rent a garage just to store them, have these people ever heard about saving trees? :)

It's a silly tax, with silly regulations and silly enforcement that needs to go.

We have a national TV network which is an absolute national treasure and produces some awesome TV. The TV license just ensures that the government doesn't hold the purse strings and therefore effectively controls it. I'm happy to pay for a TV license for this reason. Also, lots of channels with no adverts on is pretty good.

As for the letters, just tell them you aren't eligible to pay. How do they know if you don't tell them?

For iPlayer, they are bringing in a BBC account which will be tied to your license fee, so you can't accidentally stream it.

National Treasure? It is literally state media, you only had to watch the BBC during the Scottish Indy Ref to show how far it will go to tow the government line. I think it is a disgrace so no longer have a licence. When Trump branded it FakeNews, people in the UK were outraged but it is one of the few things I agree with.

Is there any specific criticisms of the indy ref coverage you can give? None of the major broadcasters where particularly unbiased, because nobody wanted to see the union break up.

Trump brands a lot of things fake news. They rarely are.

>As for the letters, just tell them you aren't eligible to pay. How do they know if you don't tell them? //

Or they could stop accusing people of being criminals without any evidence.

I've had one of these letters and they start from a position of extreme prejudice against the recipient; it's not a pleasant reminder that you may need a license it's an accusation that you're a criminal and will get a big fine.

You have to pay to tell them you don't own a TV too, there's no freepost envelope and no freephone number. It's a small thing but given the aggressive nature of their accusation I refuse to pay even 40p to let them know we had no TV on the premises.

You can do it online.. no need to spend anything. Why not do that and stop the tree wasting yourself, as they aren't going to. You only need do it every 2 years or so.


The TV license just ensures that the government doesn't hold the purse strings and therefore effectively controls it

Like they hold the purse strings and control every other channel?

The recent revelations of BBC presenters salaries reveals that they don't want to compete with other stations on a level playing field, but they do want to pay themselves competitive salaries. Well you can't have it both ways...

The other channels are beholden to advertisers and only produce profitable content regardless of its value.

Also the BBC salaries for the most part are on-par with ITV and C4.

The whole point of the TV tax is that the BBC can take on projects that are "worthy" but not commercially viable. Why does it have big-name stars at all? Why is it competing for ratings at all? They want to have their cake and eat it is why.

Working for the BBC is a privilege; one of the few cases where people really should be doing it "for the exposure" and not paid at all.

Disclaimer: I am employed by the BBC, but not in PR, hence the throwaway

> The whole point of the TV tax is that the BBC can take on projects that are > "worthy" but not commercially viable. Why does it have big-name stars at all? > Why is it competing for ratings at all? They want to have their cake and eat > it is why.

No, the BBC has to compete against commercial content, and therefore has to pay to hire talent that is competitive with the talent hired by commercial broadcasters. There are good reasons for this:

- Making popular content that is of high quality increases the quality of commercial offerings, as it has to compete for viewers.

- If the BBC did not make popular content that most people want to watch, it would not be perceived as good value for money, and therefore you would lose the benefits of having a strong public broadcaster.

This is made clear in the charter:

"The BBC should provide high-quality output in many different genres and across a range of services and platforms which sets the standard in the United Kingdom and internationally."

> Working for the BBC is a privilege; one of the few cases where people really > should be doing it "for the exposure" and not paid at all.

Working for the BBC is a privilege, but if it did not pay its staff, it would not have any. There is a balance to be struck -- people are willing to work for less than they could be paid elsewhere, but if the difference is too big then they will leave.

The amount being paid to talent and execs is high, but at least in some cases is a lot lower than people are being paid on commercial channels, and therefore it is possibly justified.

Blair made it about ratings precisely to make the BBC an empty shell.

You should not have to compete for viewers. I agree with the other poster - the point is to have a guaranteed revenue stream so you can, frankly, make unpopular content. By definition if it is popular the private sector can fund this via advertising.

The charter is there to neuter the BBC. It has worked.

> the point is to have a guaranteed revenue stream so you can, frankly, make unpopular content

That is one point, and that is currently being done. If the BBC were only to make unpopular content, it would be unpopular, and people would not want to pay for it. It is supposed to be balanced in a way that benefits the public the most.

I can see the argument that the balance between making popular and unpopular content is not currently as good as it could be, but the model when looked at as a whole seems quite sensible.

IMO if the BBC has the most viewers it's "failing", if it has no viewers it's also failing. Talk of "unpopular" content misses the point, clearly content should be popular it just doesn't need to be mainstream or most popular (perhaps "popularist" was meant?).

BBC should provide high quality alternatives - if commercial stations show the football they show something else, if commercial stations are showing singing/dancing BBC should show something else, etc..

If a talk-show host wants a large six-figure sum they should go look in the commercial sector, if they can't get it the BBC should happily give them a reasonable wage (and not through some shell production company either), or give someone else a chance.

I imagine where the conflict arises is that BBC wants popularist shows to sell through BBC World.

For things like F1 BBC should only be stepping in if no commercial station will take it as FTA, the cost/benefit is very slim fit such things if ITV would show it and BBC prop up the price by bidding against them for UK rights.

mainstream vs. special interest is probably better, I.e. content that appeals to lots of people but has low value to the average person vs. content that only appeals to a few people, but has a higher value to the people that enjoy it. Of course nobody goes out of their way to make unpopular content, but content that is less mainstream is less popular.

I basically agree with your point about providing a high quality alternative. That's what the charter says the BBC should do, however it is supposed to be a balance, in order to provide a service that people want to pay for.

> If a talk-show host wants a large six-figure sum they should go look in the commercial sector

Yeah, there needs to be a balance. The BBC should use its position to grow new talent, but equally it needs to be able to pay close to market rates in order to make high quality output.

> For things like F1 BBC should only be stepping in if no commercial station will take it as FTA

I agree that it must push up the price, but I'm not sure by how much. The BBC doesn't dominate sports coverage (there seems to be a change to what is shown every year), so I don't see why the market rate with/without the BBC would be that much different.

People like watching watching sports on the BBC, because the coverage is good and there are no adverts. I don't watch sports myself, but I find value in the BBC output in other ways, so it balances out.

I think it was better before Blair hobbled it. Too much of it is childish nonsense now. A sad end.

It should be BBC 1 and 2, and Radio 1-4, and that's it.

Radio 4 is so bad now. On hearing the Canadian equivalent having moved over here it reminds me of Radio 4 about 15 years ago. BBC1 should not be publicly funded at all, it's wall-to-wall garbage.

On the BBC the only content produced that could not be satisfied by commercial ventures is BBC4 and Radio3/6.

> I wanted to watch a catch up program but my finger slipped

You're required to have a TV licence to watch catch up programs: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/help/tvlicence This rule has been in force for some months now.

> am I breaking the law? Am I considered a criminal by the state?

I imagine the case law on this issue is very well understood by now. I don't know the answer but I doubt there are any legal uncertainties.

> the ABSURD methods they go to intimidate you into paying, even when you don't watch live television

I'm not sure what it's like for those like you who have device but no aerial. I have no device. Once every two years I get a letter asking me to fill in a web form to confirm I still have no device. It's annoying, sure, but your reaction seems massively over the top.

Oh great, the rules have changed. Guess I should just uninstall the piece of software that came with the TV.

As for "over the top" - http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one?wt.mc_id=... clearly states a device could be pretty much any electronic device at this stage, not just TVs - So how does this work? How is it proven you don't actually benefit from a TV programs? Not having a TV doesn't seem to be enough in the eyes of the law. I don't necessarily want my details attached to a private company I have no business with, as I understand it they are just outsourced enforcement and there is no legal obligation to provide them with any of my details (the letters aren't even addressed to "me" as a person, but simply the "occupier"). I'd rather keep getting the letters than give them information they have no right to.

It's all ambiguous and nonsensical to me. If there is anything I actually enjoyed in my southern European origins is that governmental funded extortion was at least direct.

I have devices, I have an aerial, and there's a dish bolted to the wall. I don't have the devices connected to the aerial or the dish. I fill out the form, and I get a letter once every two years.

> but your reaction seems massively over the top.

Yes. There are a bunch of youtube videos of people saying the best thing to do is to never respond to the letters, but those channels also have people complaining about multiple letters and visits from TVL.

> the best thing to do is to never respond to the letters

Yeah I tried that strategy for a while and got pissed off with how many letters I was getting. Then I filled in the web form and it's a once-in-two-year thing for me now. Much better!

I get a letter from the BBC every month threatening me with court action if I don't buy a TV license.

Is it from the BBC? They outsourced licencing many years ago.

Parts of the operation are contracted out to Capita, who act as agents for the BBC under the "TV Licensing" trade name.

Have you filled out the web form?

No I quite enjoy the threatening letters, they tend to repeat after about 6 months but every now and again you get a new one.

Watching anything on BBC iPlayer, even catch up programs, no requires a licence.

The BBC iPlayer service will warn you about content that needs a licence - it will ask before playing "do you have a licence?".

> every month I get a threatening, amateur looking, in red writing

Have you told them that you do not watch tv as it's broadcast or anything on iPlayer? Once you tell them they should stop writing to you for two years.

Why don't you take five minutes to type your post code into the TV Licensing web site? You won't hear a peep from them for three years. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me, unless you enjoy being offended by their letters.

Agreed. I didn't have a tv in the UK for years and I registered as such. I never had a single letter or knock on my door. I wasn't avoiding the license, I really did not have a TV. It worked.

What many don't realise is that the TV license is collected and administered by a private entity, serco, who make a substantial profit in operating it.

Last I checked the BBC receive something like 40% of the collected revenues.

So, while it ostensibly pays for the BBC, it's really just another arm of the octopus like serco, who run everything from prisons to call centres (in prisons!) to the dvla to the inland revenue.

They're the biggest company nobody has ever heard of.

Do you have a source for that 40% claim? I can't find anything about that

Do you have a source?


> It is expected that Capita will earn £1.10bn – £1.55bn from its contract with the BBC if it runs its maximum 15 years from July 2012

The BBC gets over £4b per year.

> Thus, the licence fee made up the bulk (77.5%) of the BBC's total income of £4.827 billion in 2015–2016.[2][3]

I make that as Capita taking 2.5% gross revenue. Who know how much that costs them to administer over 15 years either.

The licensing website puts it at 5.5%. Either way, 40% is a silly number to throw around.


Doesn't that mean they'll earn 1.10 - 1.55bn over the 15 years? Not every year?

Yes, which is why I was asking for a source. I can't find anything which puts the figure any where near 40%.

40% claim is ludicrous

Radio only licences existed until the 70s and would cover people who used a radio but not a TV. TV licences include radio.

The "car licence" connection to paying for roads was ended in 1937 [1], and the Road Fund itself in 1956 [1]. The Vehicle Excise Duty since 1936 has just been taxation, not earmarked for anything in particular.

[1] http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN01482.pdf , page 6

What's a TV license? I've genuinely never heard of that being a thing, although I'm in the US.

I own a TV but I don't watch any public broadcasts or cable, so requiring a license for that seems weird at first glance.

Basically, TV Licence pays for state run TV & radio services.

In the UK, this also means we don't have any advertising on the BBC channels or website, which is nice.


The US has public radio and television without advertising as well, but instead of licensing it is funded through personal and corporate donations, together with government grants coming out of the general budget.

On a few programs you might get the host of the showing saying at the end mentioning one of the sponsors, but that's the worst it gets. The website (for radio, I don't see any on the TV website)) does have a few non-awful display ads, but streaming everything is free.

In my personal opinion this is a more progressive model - poor people don't have to pay money for public television access.

It's more progressive, yes, but when you look at the quality of output that the BBC produces the two really aren't comparable.

In the UK, I think we take the BBC for granted. With a fairly-limited budget they produce extremely high-quality and varied ad-free programming, news and have an excellent web presence. So many shows are exported and shown across the world, it can only be a benefit for the country to have our culture, and values projected in such a way.

Additionally, my two favourite stations are BBC4 and Radio 4. BBC4 shows a large number of niche documentaries that simply wouldn't ever be considered, let alone funded, shot and aired for other channels, and Radio 4 is simply unparalleled in quality.

Other (mostly European) countries rely on a tax to fund or partially fund state TV/radio so that the government doesn't broadcast government propaganda over state TV or control it by cutting their budget. It's also easier for them to make cultural shows as opposed to Oprah style reality TV that's the equivalent of clickbait and sells ads. In some of these countries state run TV is the most propaganda/advertising free TV. BBC is one example.

NPR and PBS neither air reality TV type content, or are outlets for government propaganda.

I understand that's one stated reason for the license tax, but the American model pretty well proves that it isn't necessary to get independent content that's not ad-driven.

You seem to forget that the US is about 5x the population of the UK. Voluntary donations are nice but assuming generosity in the US and UK being the same, the UK would end up with 5x less funds than what PBS and NPR have (about US$550 and $270 yearly, respectively).

The BBC has about US$6.5B and produces a much wider array of programmes than PBS and NPR combined. So not relying on public's mandatory contribution would clearly not work.

I don't know how it works in the US and whlile I fully agree with you about NPR (not familiar with PBS) I also know that it wouldn't work in my Eastern European country (an EU and NATO member). Our gov't tried to subvert national TV several times for their own corrupt schemes - with parliamentary backing. They just got rid of the TV tax, everybody and their dog voted for them and now they're indtrducing new and even more interesting taxes in place of the ones they got rid of to get the votes. Some people have a really short attention span.

I started writing a response but then discovered I can't do any better than the first two paragraphs of the following :)


I believe it is that case that the UK government does not insist you have a passport to travel. Practical considerations may make it difficult without one (many private companies, for example, won't let you onto their conveyance without one because they don't want to be lumbered with taking you back again when the destination country refuses to let you in for lack of passport) and the destination country might not let you in without one, but that's not the UK government insisting you be licenced to travel. It's not illegal under UK law, I understand (or it certainly didn't used to be; the maybot did seem to run an awfully authoritarian Home Office so maybe that's changed), to simply wander down to the sea, get on a yacht, and sail across to another country.

I have myself gone to France without a passport (which may have been illegal under French law; I certainly have the right to travel there freely, but I don't know what they insist people carry), gone shopping, and come back again, and I know someone coming back through border control who simply gave his name and address.

IIRC the United Kingdom has no national ID cards, but generally if your country has one they are an acceptable way for EU citizens to travel within the Union (and they were even when the EU was the EEC).

Getting your ID in Italy is about one Euro (printing photos is more expensive than that) and it's valid for ten years. All that's required for an Italian is a means of being identified by an officer; the national ID card is just a convenient one. A driving license is enough of you prefer.

Personal radios need a license? I'm guessing you mean two-way walkie-talkies?

That's only if they use part of the spectrum regulated by Ofcom. If you use some of the unregulated spectrum then it's fine.

The rest of the licenses make sense. The TV license is particularly important as it pays for the BBC, keeping it relatively free from government interference whilst still creating top-notch content.

Not walkie-talkies. Personal radios needed a licence. Back when the TV licence was the TV and radio licence, and there was also a separate radio licence. Radio licences were withdrawn back in February 1971.

  > - Remember Personal Radios needed a License.
CB's do not anymore... these were deregulated just a few years ago.

To Add to the list:

  - Fishing License
  - Dog License (re-introduce!)

> What else can the UK Government think of taxing?



The UK Government is currently in a chokehold of the authoritarians. See also the prime minister's plans about crypto and the (opt-out) porn block and planned required identification to access porn.

We can only hope they don't get much done and are busy with Brexit.

What do you expect from an ex home secretary? Policing everything like it's the Soviet Union.

You missed Dog License if you are doing historical ones...

You need a dog license in some parts of Switzerland and a six month course to get one. It's mostly because of irresponsible persons that abandon dogs.

While I laud the intent, I doubt bad actors will register their drones, so it'll be a burden for legitimate pilots and no deterrent whatsoever for folks who use them to fly contraband into prison etc.

Like many laws, it's not really supposed to act as a deterrent, it's just an easier way to administer the law.

If you find someone flying a drone dangerously, at the moment it's hard to know where to draw the line at what is legal, which then makes it difficult to prosecute someone who's flying drones recklessly (such as flying over airports).

If you have drone registration, then in the same scenario you can either take away their license (an action which doesn't require proof beyond reasonable doubt) or if they aren't licensed, you have a very easy law to prosecute against (flying without a license).

What about model airplanes? Do you need a license to fly a model airplane or helicopter?

Not currently, no, and it's not clear if this'll extend to those.

And what about kites?

"no deterrent whatsoever"?

I really don't think this is correct. It may not be a foolproof deterrent, but it's certainly a deterrent.

I don't like when this argument is trotted out for gun control and I don't like it here.

How is it a deterrent? Honestly, I can't see it. If I currently owned an unregistered drone and was using it to shunt contraband into prison, how would this legislation change anything for me? It wouldn't increase my downside.

Also, with guns, it's you, there, holding the gun, so it can be enforced.

With drones, you could be in a moving car a mile away. How does that get enforced?

Well, suddenly simply being in possession of the unlicensed drone is an offence, so you're now at risk every second its in your car or in your house. Being a criminal, you probably interact with the police more often than non-criminals, and if they find it in your house or car or in some other way in your possession, they've got you.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact