Predator Drones in America: Celebrity Gossip Site TMZ Did Not Get a Drone Permit

Thanks to some pending legislation, it looks like American skies could soon be buzzing with drones. Applications have been flooding into the Federal Aviation Administration for the right to use one ... including from celebrity gossip site TMZ?

A news story over the weekend cited TMZ as one of many entities applying for a permit to use an unmanned aerial vehicle in the U.S. The story has since been picked up all over the internet-o-sphere and an hour ago TMZ published a blog post on its own site, “We’re NOT Keeping Up with the DRONESES.” Within 30 minutes, stories began popping up featuring the TMZ correction.

The San Francisco Chronicle first published an article this weekend in which it states without attribution, “The Federal Aviation Administration has been flooded with applications from police departments, universities, private corporations and even the celebrity gossip site TMZ….” Previous applicants for drone certificates have been released but as of now, it doesn’t appear there are any records that evidence TMZ is actually one of the applicants.

This is a great example of old media (potentially) getting it wrong and new media’s role as both an echo chamber and fact checker.

It’s also a great reminder of how scary it could get once the FAA opens the floodgates to unmanned aerial vehicles. Whether it’s the North Little Rock Police Department or the City of Herrington, Kansas, do we really trust just about any locality with a drone?

It's unchartered territory and we have to be sure to get the policy right. Not wrong, and then right.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Michael McCutcheon

Michael was formerly special projects editor at Mic. Prior to that, he worked at the Open Society Foundations on electoral reform. A native Seattleite, he's still mad about the SuperSonics.

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