Today there were a host of stories about different companies using drones to help out in Harvey.

That’s great.

But, as always, we need to be thinking steps ahead with new technological developments.  The FAA has to approve done use.  Normally the process of drone approval is slow.  Fortunately, the FAA has sped up the process to approve drones to help with the relief effort.  As they should.

However, when a genie is let out of a bottle, its always important to think about how it can be returned.  The fasttracking of applications may lead to all kinds of approvals that are only tangentially related to the relief.  Fastracking means less oversight on the applications being granted.  It also may set precedents that will linger after Harvey, or that can be applied in situations when there is no disaster.

Drones are a technological marvel that, as we see, have life saving potential.

However, they also are an invasion of our privacy, a nuisance, and can lead to other consequences that change our way of life in ways that we cannot predict.

Until we have a better handle on what those consequences are, we should welcome regulation.  Let’s hope someone is watching the store, and that unscrupulous actors don’t exploit the government’s temporary laxity to create loopholes that can’t be closed later.