A Forbes article by Greg McNeal argues that the UAV industry is now squarely in the privacy lobby’s sights. That means that the industry must be demonized relentlessly until new legal constraints are imposed on public and private use of the technology.

All the signs are there. The left-leaning privacy groups have already recruited Drudge and parts of the right to provide what amounts to political stoop labor for their regulatory agenda. (What do we call this tendency on the right — “Libertarians for More Regulation“?)

The industry, meanwhile, seems to have brought salesmen to a gun fight:

As the legal and policy landscape is changing, so too must the R&D approach of unmanned systems manufacturers who are great at selling the capabilities of their systems, but are not adept at dealing with their products as policy catalysts. They speak about the benefits their systems can provide, great ISR capabilities, portability, ease of use, etc. They make a compelling case, but the problem is they are arguing the merits of their systems. Their opponents in the privacy lobby aren’t interested in the merits, they are interested in stopping the development of these systems out of a fear of some potential government violation of privacy – however that term privacy is to be defined at any given moment. The problem for the industry is that the privacy lobby is much better at this game than industry is, mostly because the industry isn’t giving the privacy lobby’s concerns enough attention. This is a fatal miscalculation, the privacy lobby is extremely adept at demonizing programs and advancements in technology — the unmanned systems industry (not just AUVSI) needs to prepare for the fight.

Read the whole thing.