Map of drone use authorizations in the U.S.

The red markers represent active authorizations; the blue markers, expired authorizations; the yellow markers, rejected authorizations.

New Yorkers of the future will be better watched and have less privacy than they do today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg predicts in an interview on Christian talk radio station WOR 710.

His foretelling came after host John Gambling asked what he thought of the New York Police Department and other agencies using drones in the future. A local CBS report in January found signs that the NYPD is considering the machines. “It’s not a question of whether I think it’s good or bad, I just don’t see how we’re going to stop that,” Bloomberg said.

In fact, that future may not as different from the situation now as some may think. As PopSci has reported before, folks in the U.S. have already accepted a lot of privacy loss just to use smartphones. Many drone capabilities mimic the location tracking and facial recognition that smartphones and their apps (think Facebook) already do.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg compared drone surveillance to security cameras already installed around the city. “What’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?” he said.

Bloomberg advocated for careful thinking about new legislation to regulate what drones can and can’t do. A judiciary hearing last week got the conversation started, though few lawmakers have any concrete ideas yet.

[WOR 710 via the Verge]