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Chopper drones with cams may pose threat to privacy Staff Reporter / 29 January 2014 The Ministry of Interior is concerned about its use and the Consumer Protection Department will investigate sales of these machines at some shops in the country. It may be a sport for some, a professional tool for photography experts, but the miniature RC (radio-controlled) quadcopter can be a threat to privacy if fitted with a camera. The Ministry of Interior is concerned about its use and the Consumer Protection Department will investigate sales of these machines at some shops in the country. The Arabic daily Al Roeya reported that the ministry convened a meeting with the bodies concerned in order to set down regulations for selling and trading in such drones fitted with cameras that could be controlled by remote control through a cordless joystick or a smart phone. The Ministry of Economy confirmed that its inspection and control squads embarked on their visits to shops and markets that deal in such kind of quadcopters to stop their sale. Al Roeya quoted Lt-General Saif Abdullah Al Shafaar, Undersecretary of Ministry of Interior, as saying that these pilotless rotorcrafts, which are sometimes fitted with a high definition camera, are sold without any constraints in the US and Europe, and are promoted online as well. Al Shafaar affirmed that the Federal Aviation Authority is the body concerned in this regard. He called upon all concerned parties and security authorities to hold a meeting to lay down regulations on this issue. Al Shafaar went on to say that police could intervene and take action if it received complaints from citizens and residents. Meanwhile, Director of the Consumer Protection Department, Ministry of Economy Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi warned the community members against the hazards of using copters that carry an HD camera which could be guided and controlled from remote distance. He pointed out that the Consumer Protection Department has planned to dispatch its inspection teams to shops and markets famous for selling these RC drones in order to stave off selling them to the public due to the negative effects these drones have because of the HD camera they are fitted with. Radio-controlled four rotor copters using high definition (HD) camera can click pictures during the time it’s in the air The RC quadcopter can fly for a period of 25 minutes and a distance of one kilometre at an altitude of 300 metres. The most shocking thing is that this kind of RC chopper was found being sold at a shopping mall in Dubai. They can be used by amateurs in a rational way by taking photos from high altitudes, and can be flown at desert, open areas, and sea. However, some others might use such adult toys in an immoral manner, which has become a hobby for those intruders to infringe people decency and privacy. There are two kinds of RC quadrotor helicopters. The first one is unprofessional and is sold for Dh4,800 and can fly for 15 minutes covering a distance of 700 metres. The second one is a professional one which costs as much as Dh8,000. The latter can fly a distance of a kilometre for a period of 25 minutes. The RC quadcopter has Global Positioning System (GPS), which makes it easy to call the chopper home automatically when the battery runs out. A user can programme and preset the flight course back and forth in certain directions, and sets the HD camera either in photo or video modes. It can transmit photos and videos to a user’s smart phone. An RC chopper owner Mohamed said he uses his copter everywhere to record horse races, car race and for other sports. — firstname.lastname@example.org For more news from Khaleej Times, follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/khaleejtimes , and on Twitter at @khaleejtimes Continue reading →
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