You may have seen the story already, about how a consumer-grade aerial drone with a camera mounted to it captured shots of a Texas meat-packing plant illegally dumping cow blood out the back of their facility.

It’s here if you want more information.

The interesting thing in this for me is how common the usage of drones like these is becoming. The #Occupy movement’s got one. The ship from Whale Wars does, too. You can buy them on Amazon and control them with your phone.

A few years back, drones were things the military used to kill people in places where they didn’t want to risk losing a hundred million dollar fighter jet. Now, they’re something you can mount a webcam to and take a remote tour of your next apartment with.

As their cost decreases and their technology level increases, these drones are going to start posing a real problem for personal privacy. They’re already working on one that you can mount a DSLR to. Which will pretty much turn it into a flying peeping-tom.

In my head I can see swarms, utter swarms, of these things clogging the skies over Beverly Hills as paparazzi use them to try to snap of picture of the celeb du jure in the middle of something embarrassing. Or in a vertically oriented city like New York or Hong Kong or Tokyo, they will be the 21st century equivalent of spying on your neighbor with a telescope.

And these are just the annoying downsides. What about when stalkers use them to harass their victims? Or pedophiles use them to get a view your kids changing at the pool. Things get very real and very scary, very quickly.

I bet within a few months, a year at the most, we start seeing technologically progressive cities passing zoning ordinances that forbid the use of drones in certain areas. Like near schools or residential areas, hell maybe even banning them within city limits altogether.

But they’ll never be able to full stop them. Pandora’s Box has been opened when it comes to these things, and there’s no putting them back in, they’ve already flown off.