back to article Joe Public likes drones and regulations, finds 'public dialogue'

The general public is keen on drones of all shapes and sizes but wants their operators to be registered and trained, according to a study carried out by the UK Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. A joint exercise between the two government departments to encourage "public dialogue on drone use in the UK" …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "online training at registration [..] – not particularly rigorous"

    Nor particularly mandatory given that there is no way to control that said user actually bothered to go see it.

    Given the glasshole's propensity to do whatever he wants with his toys and other people be damned, I do think that laws are the only thing that will keep the issue at bay.

    Strike that, enforcing laws are the only thing that will keep the issue at bay.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The idea of the study was to inform public sector agencies about what the general population thinks about drone use at the moment and is likely to think about future developments"

    So they asked a massive 0.00018 percent of the population? Not even one percent of one percent, taken as representing the entire country? That's possibly even more daft than saying Fleet Street editors represent the views of the British public .....

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    What the public wants...

    is basically bread and circuses. Ask about drones and the thought process is Drones = Bling = tech toys = Yay, fun! No thought of the implications. If you asked 'the public' if they should each be given a million quid I'm fairly sure they'd say yes, without thinking through the implications for inmflation, savings etc.

    Basic problem is that 'the people' are not renowned for clear analytical thinking. There is much evidence for this <feel-free-to-ignore-if-you-voted-wrexit-or-trump>, just think of certain recent public polls in the UK and the US</feel-free-etc>

    It's very depressing for someone who is at heart convinced that democracy is a good thing to discover that the opinion of 'the public' is generally not a good guide as to the most sensible thing to do.

  4. AMBxx Silver badge

    118 people?

    Is that it? On a positive note, this won't have cost much. In reality, from 118 people, the results are irrelevant.

    1. gungho

      Re: 118 people?

      I think they mean they interviewed the guys from the 118 commercial on TV ;)

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Another great government survey

    Let me guess.

    "Given the danger poised by drones, especially by Pedos (sic) and Terrorists, do you think there should be more regulation?"

    Yes or No.

    1. AdamT

      Re: Another great government survey

      As usual, "Yes, Minister" got there first with the "would you support compulsory military service" questionnaire episode. Just got to find a link...

      Ah, here we go:

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Another great government survey

      Though shall not invoke the Daily Mail Politico Puppeting Method (tm) in vain.

  6. Smooth Newt

    Asking random people for random thoughts after telling them what you want to hear

    The report has has statements such as As the dialogue progressed and participants learnt more about drones, they tended overall to become more positive - well doing this sort of thing, you have to be bloody careful that you are not priming your participants with the views that you want to here.

    It also says that More information about recruitment and participant profiles can be found in Appendix 2. Since the report doesn't have any appendices we don't even know what the actual profiles of those 118 people deemed to represent the views of 64.1 million people were.

  7. Rob Crawford

    Oh look a method of taking money of people.

    I'm rather confused how my 130mm racer will carry any transceivers for identification, also wondering how my 150mm racer will manage to carry anything apart from the minimal configuration it already has.

    1. Ogi

      > I'm rather confused how my 130mm racer will carry any transceivers for identification, also wondering how my 150mm racer will manage to carry anything apart from the minimal configuration it already has.

      Simple, you won't be allowed to use them anymore. Isn't regulation wonderful! </sarc>

      While being a bit flippant (and I admit regulation helps in some areas) it is not uncommon for regulation to stamp out an innocent minority as "collateral damage" (as the powers that be like to call it).

      For example, the government decided certain chemicals can be used in bomb making. making noxious gases, or are used in meth labs. Therefore they heavily restricted their usage/purchase ability. This negatively affects the "amateur chemist", who may just do it as a hobby and has no interest in breaking the law. With some loons willing to throw acid in other peoples faces, even basic acids are now being restricted.

      That is why modern chemistry sets are so neutered compared to the ones of old. Pretty much killed the home chemistry set, and the hobby around it.

      In these situations the government decides that the damage caused to a minority is worth the benefits of the regulation/restriction to "the public".

      Whether that is true or whether it is a power grab is not relevant, it will be sold as "the public good trumps a minority".

  8. Smooth Newt
    Black Helicopters

    Pricing them out of existence

    Similarly, public concerns over the quality of materials (particularly in terms of "home-made machines" and cheap foreign imports) were also high.

    This seems a very bizarre thing for Joe Public to be concerned about without some official prompting, but the report mentions it nine times. Perhaps the Government would really like to introduce the same regulations for plastic drones that they do for manned aircraft. Your "cheap" plastic drone will cost £29k and the battery can only be charged by someone who holds a European Aviation Safety Agency licence.

    1. moiety

      Re: Pricing them out of existence

      The whole thing smells of confirming the answers some group wanted to hear rather than anything genuinely resembling a survey.

      Similarly, the "public's" solution of a registry sounds like bollocks to me. Presumably there would be a fee and coughing up personal details to a government department, thereafter to be hacked and posted on Pastebin/sold on dodgy forums. Plus people who are planning shenanigans aren't going to register anyway. People like myself who don't have shenanigans planned but like to keep their options open aren't going to register unless there's a spectacularly good reason for doing so.

      Usually the only thing registration solves is a government department's shortage of tenners.

  9. gungho

    Most drugs smuggled into prison are delivered by the wardens, under threat from people outside.

  10. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    The fortunate 118 first went to workshops to learn more about drones then answered the survey. Their concerns and the survey answers are what the government wanted in the first place.

    From the report's introduction:

    At the start of the dialogue, participants on the whole had low awareness and knowledge of drones, with military drones and high street toys being the main (and sometimes only) types participants had heard of. Participants often had little or no knowledge of commercial applications. High level associations with drones tended to be somewhat negative, linked to concerns about privacy and surveillance, safety and mis-use, and fear of the ‘unknown’. Many acknowledged that these views were driven by the portrayal of drones in the media, and that they didn’t feel they heard or knew that much about the subject. However, by the end of the first workshop, participants were highly engaged with the issues and were eager to learn more.

    1. NonSSL-Login
      Black Helicopters

      Using a 'workshop' to get a small number of people to think a certain way and answer questions in exactly the way you want. The MoD have no shame at all.

      Welcome to the UK where the government will use Psyops and other tricks to make you think and behave how they want you too. Dystopia crept in and no one noticed.

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      @Dan 55, according to that information then, the 118 underwent indoctrination not intrduction. Perhaps the organisers had a typo moment.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm all for regulation ..

    .. that is, you need to register as a trained shotgun owner to take them down.

    I would not regulate drones - just allow them to be shot down legally and the problem will sort itself out. Those who don't want the damn things around can destroy them on sight (personal homes, airports, nudist camps), and those who want to fly them will then know the risks if they go near places that don't like them - there are plenty of spaces left where it's not a problem.

    I think we'd have to have "no drones" or "drones and drone owners shot on sight" or something, though.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: I'm all for regulation ..

      And when the drone you shoot down goes through the windscreen of your neighbour's car, who gets the repair bill?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm all for regulation ..

        And when the drone you shoot down goes through the windscreen of your neighbour's car, who gets the repair bill?

        The drone owner, obviously, as he was warned not to operate the drone in the vicinity (I did mention warning signs). The liability could even be an extra incentive not do fly the damn thing there.

        This would never have become a problem if people would actually have the decency to consult others before they start intruding in their lives, and the intelligence not to operate those things where they cause danger such as near raging fires that emergency servers are trying to put out or, the obvious one, near airports - I honestly have no problem with someone buzzing around my house if someone asks politely and gives me an idea what for ("casing the joint" may not receive a favourable response, though). But hey, the right to f*ck around with a toy by B Ark candidates evidently has to override any sense and sensitivity which makes me wonder if the gene pool maybe needs a more thorough solution..

  12. Peter Galbavy

    They've already decided, this is just window dressing

    This whole "consultation" exercise is the usual sham, where the results have already been decided and the 3 month consultation is simply to meet statutory requirements. The document discussed in the article is only one of the three advisory documents to the main consultation which appears to be written by an unsupervised child and has so many flaws and errors as to be laughable. The questions posed, as they ask primarily for specific answers from a list and not a narrative response are of the "how long have you been beating your wife" variety.

    I will try to make time to respond, tearing the whole thing apart, but apart from making me feel better it is unlikely to have any effect whatsoever.

    Little things, like how do foreign visitors register their devices?, jump out as completely missing and given that the registration process is modelled on the US and Ireland, this is a remarkable ommision - given the problems visitors to the US report with not being able to register until after they arrive and even then have problems. Other more serious things, like completely misrepresenting the existing ANO in the summary tables and not understanding the differences between UAVs and "surveillance" capable UAVs (which is a nonsense too) and then the whole 50m versus 150m and "congested areas". Read it if you want to be wound up.

    Personally, after a recent visit, I think the Aussies have it right (I am one by birth). Their rules are simple, straight forward and sensible. You can even fly near airports as long as you follow specific rules. Take a look:

  13. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Big Brother

    "UK drone use is fairly innocuous"

    Until a government department starts getting involved.

    That' won't be so innocuous.

  14. Graham Marsden

    Another Box-Ticking exercise.

    Scene: A Civil Service office:

    "We want this law"

    "Fine, but you have to do a Consultation."

    "Ok, do we have to pay any attention to the results?"

    "No, just as long as you do it, that's fine, but if you like, you can rig the questions to make sure that it comes out in your favour."

    "Great, we'll do that!"

  15. F0rdPrefect

    Solution to potential drone problem

    Must have training and licence, before you are allowed to buy a drone.

    Vendor needs to keep records and if they sell one to someone without a licence, huge fine.

    If person caught flying one without licence, huge fine, confiscation and destruction of drone and associated kit.

    That should help keep the skies a bit clearer of idiots

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