Friday , March 31 2023

FAA Says No Filming Fireworks With Drones Or Otherwise Having Unapproved Fun

Over the past few days some incredible videos of fireworks shot from a drone’s-eye vantage point have been making the rounds and for good reason–they’re downright amazing. While there are few things more tiresome than seeing countless photos and videos of fireworks every Fourth of July filming fireworks with drones provide a completely different perspective. Shooting badass videos is just one of the countless applications of drone technology besides killing teenagers in Yemen and many more will be discovered as the industry develops worldwide.

On the video linked to above one of the comments states an opinion I share: “I love living in the future.” Unfortunately, our government loves the status quo and hates innovation and change. They also love trying to expand their power and control which is the only possible reason that the FAA is getting involved with the aforementioned fireworks shot with drones videos. You remember the FAA–the Federal Aviation Administration–they’re the organization doing their damnedest to keep the commercial drone industry grounded in the United States. They claim that commercial drone use is a no-no and they’re not going to let the fact that they might not have jurisdiction over them get in their way. And despite the fact that this is a booming high tech industry that is passing the United States by they’re not going to regulate commercial drone use any time soon. Sure, they’ve said they’ll get to it by September 2015 but no one is buying it. Some auditors have concluded that there’s no way the FAA can meet this deadline since they simply don’t know what they’re doing.


As the President and his co-conspirators yammer about ‘learning to code’ and ‘STEM jobs’ being the future there’s great effort being made by other tentacles of the government to make sure that the status quo and their power isn’t threatened. The car sharing service Uber is finding resistance by many corrupt city governments that are in cahoots and/or in the pockets of local cab drivers but at least that’s good old fashioned cronyism. It’s more difficult to understand why the Federal government is determined to suppress what is quickly becoming a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry capable of creating untold value and generating countless high paying jobs–the very type of ‘STEM’ jobs that Obama balefully suggests are the future. There’s no reason that the United States can’t compete or even dominate this new industry but our own government simply won’t let them. While they desperately try to justify exerting power and trying to grasp the digital future with their analog brains other countries are quickly leaving us in the dust including our Canadian neighbors to the north. Instead of quickly taking steps to facilitate a promising new technology that could provide almost unquantifiable economic benefit to the country the FAA instead shakes down real estate agents and farmers. And lest we forget the FAA might not actually have authority to regulate this industry that they’re doing everything within their power (and likely beyond the scope of their power) to suppress.

We don’t have the luxury of waiting another 20 years. This industry is exploding. It’s getting to the point where it may end up happening with or without the FAA’s blessing.–Paul McDuffee, vice president of drone-maker Insitu

The good news is that technology of all kinds is starting to route around governments and their desperate attempt to prop up the status quo. At some point they’ll hopefully ‘collapse under their own weight‘ as Google honcho Larry Page envisions. The bad news is that a potentially major tech industry shouldn’t *have* to route around the government–at least not in theory. Not that anyone should believe government lip service about the importance of innovation and embracing the future in the first place but one would assume that such a transparent effort to hem in the future and an industry that will play a big part in it would make more people mad than it does. Yet for all of the clamoring for the government to ‘create’ more and better jobs there’s little outrage from anyone outside the tech community when they do just the opposite and suppress the creation of jobs or, in this case, an entire industry. Not exactly earth shattering news that a recent survey of 1400 tech experts indicated that governments are the biggest threat to the future of the Internet. For some inexplicable reason too many people have no issue with our government being among this most problematic.


Flying them as a hobbyist is legal, which makes the fireworks investigation unusual — it’s also unclear why the FAA wants to step in rather than leave the case to the Coast Guard or local police forces.–Gigaom

Even assuming that the FAA has dictatorial powers over anything that flies anywhere and for any reason they’ve already said that ‘recreational’ use of drones is approved, right? Just don’t try to have fun and film it with your GoPro Camera. Since they don’t seem to have anything better to do the FAA is *trying to determine if any laws or regulations were violated* by filming fireworks with drones. Seriously.

The rationale for their action goes back to the gift that keeps on giving to government overreach, the ‘war on terror’. Local governments and the Coast Guard sometimes enforce ‘safe zones’ around fireworks shows and prohibit ‘unauthorized people and objects from entering restricted airspace’ because terrorism. Since there’s no greater threat to our American way of life than citizens taking badass videos of fireworks the FAA is essentially digging for any possible reason to bring anyone they can find up on Federal charges that would be a serious inconvenience at best and ruin their lives at worst. Just because they can. Obviously a better use of their time than dealing with commercial drone use. The Gigaom article linked in the previous paragraph also gives us this moneyshot:

Flying them as a hobbyist is legal, which makes the fireworks investigation unusual — it’s also unclear why the FAA wants to step in rather than leave the case to the Coast Guard or local police forces.

Unfortunately, it’s easy for the FAA and the Feds to get away with justifying anything as a crime as long as it involves drones. Their propaganda partners in the mainstream media have done an effective job at brainwashing the unwashed masses into believing that drones are somehow sinister unless they’re killing people in caves halfway around the world because they don’t believe the way we think they should.

The reality of the current situation is that we’re living in a time of rapid and profound technological change that will drive not only the economic future of the world but our entire way of life. The Federal government is desperate to prop up the status quo and stave off that ‘profound’ change for as long as possible so they can maintain power and for the good of their financial benefactors. To do so they’ve got a bunch of middle age and older white guys who don’t fully grasp technology trying to play Whack-a-Mole by preemptively prohibiting any new technology using laws and regulations that are 50 years old. Google Glass? BAD! BAN IT! Bitcoin? BAD! BAN IT! Drones? BAD UNLESS WE’RE KILLING PEOPLE WITH THEM! BAN IT!

A government that *really* wanted to encourage innovation would do just the opposite. The burden of proof would be on the prohibitionists to demonstrate a legitimate harm–and I’m talking real legitimacy not ‘for the children’ or ‘terrorism’–before new technology or an application thereof could be regulated or prohibited. That can’t be done with preemptive prohibition of. Maybe there’s a reason that drones shouldn’t shoot videos of fireworks (though I sure can’t think of any). At this point, however, we don’t know that. And we won’t until more people start shooting videos of fireworks with drones. Regulation or prohibition of anything just because it’s ‘new’ or ‘hard to understand’ or ‘unfamiliar’ is nonsense and creates many more negatives than the often illusory and spurious ‘harm’ it is intended to address.

About James Murphy

Writer and creator covering the transformative effect of technology on everything it touches. The revolution will be decentralized.

Check Also

Why You Need To Ignore The News

One of the smartest things I’ve ever done is to ignore the news. I haven’t …

Starter Pack 728