Real estate investors have smartphones, iPads, workflow software... And now they can even have drones. Well, at least they could if they really want one. Drones have left the domain of the military and have been approved thanks to President Obama in February this year, to be used by both law enforcement and civilians.
No longer does a remote real estate investor have to rely upon his property manager’s word and/or photographs; if he has concerns that his property is being trashed he can launch his drone and check things out remotely. Ah... the convenience!
Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, range in size from a commercial plane to a hummingbird. These aircraft can certainly serve a good purpose such as allowing a remote landlord to get a birds’ eye view of his properties - just to make sure the tenants aren’t trashing the place, or even to make sure they still live there.
Other uses for the real estate industry include activities such as recording an aerial view of properties which can then be uploaded to a real estate broker’s website, giving his or her clients a view of both the property and the neighborhood before visiting the location in person.
Surveyors can get a glimpse of large tracts of land to get a better idea of the property’s boundaries, land planners can determine the best uses of raw land, etc - you name it, there’s probably a very good way and/or reason to use a drone.
The question, however, is how will privacy rights stand a chance to be protected in a country with as many as 30,000 drones in the air?
Now certainly they won’t all be flying at the same time, and they will surely be subjected to certain laws, however the possibility for abuse is very high. Each technological advance does more than just bring a new “toy” into the world, it also brings with it something unseen - moral justification for the use of that “toy”. Just because we have the technology does that mean we should use it?
Lawsuits about invasion of privacy are pretty much de facto with the use of this technology, but the opportunity for profit, whether it’s the manufacturers of these drones or the individuals using the technology, will contribute, I believe, to the death of privacy in this country as we now experience it.
What do you think? Do you agree that the potential for abuse is too great to warrant the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in America’s airspace?
Anita Cooper has been writing about real-estate topics since 2010. Her articles have appeared in the trade magazine "Real Estate Wealth," as well as on various websites. Cooper owns and operates a small writing business providing website and copy-writing material to real-estate professionals.