Tech News

You Need to Register Your Drone, Vetting Visas Through Facebook… [Tech News Digest]

Dave Parrack 15-12-2015

It’s time to register your drone, watch what you post on social media, listen to Thumbprint Radio, turn yourself into a Jedi or Sith Lord, and catch up on Star Wars in under three minutes.


Register Your Drone With the FAA

Anyone who owns a drone in the United States must now register it with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). Registrations begin on December 21st, just in time for Christmas, although you can actually begin the process already. Registrations are set to cost $5 apiece, although the FAA is waiving that fee for the first 30 days to encourage participation.

Existing owners must register their drone by February 19th, 2016. Anyone caught flying an unregistered drone after that date will face hefty fines or even jail time. This condition applies to anyone in possession of a drone weighing between half a pound amd 55 pounds (228 grams to 22.7 kilograms).

The FAA states in its press release:

“Registrants will need to provide their name, home address and e-mail address. Upon completion of the registration process, the web application will generate a Certificate of Aircraft Registration/Proof of Ownership that will include a unique identification number for the UAS owner, which must be marked on the aircraft.”

This is sure to annoy drone owners across the U.S., who are suddenly faced with having their hobby regulated. However, drones are becoming extremely popular amongst the mainstream population, and the privacy concerns they elicit are so strong that our American readers are willing to shoot drones clean out of the sky. So something clearly needed to be done.

The DHS to Vet Visa Applications


The Department of Homeland Security is likely to start looking at individuals’ social media profiles when vetting United States visa applications. Because, believe it or not, immigration officials currently don’t review someone’s posts on social networking sites What Does Facebook Know About You? Why You Should Delete Facebook What does Facebook really know about you? One thing's for sure: if you want online privacy, Facebook is best avoided. Read More before deciding whether or not to allow them to enter the country.

According to The Hill, the DHS hasn’t yet employed this obvious policy for fear of a “civil liberties backlash.” However, “three pilot programs to include social media in vetting” are now in the offing, with a review underway.

Unfortunately, the vague language used thus far means we don’t know how extensive these reviews will be, and whether it will be applied equally across the board. Both of which are important decisions if the DHS is to successfully avoid the civil liberties backlash it already fears.

Pandora Launches Thumbprint Radio


Pandora has launched a new station that is personalized for each individual user. Thumbprint Radio plays all the songs you have given the thumbs-up to over the past 10 years. This guarantees you will be hearing songs you have heard before and liked at one point in time.

It doesn’t, however, guarantee you’ll still like these songs, as most people’s tastes change significantly over the course of a decade. Even if your tastes have changed beyond all recognition, Thumbprint Radio will evolve as you give each song a new thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

This is Pandora’s attempt at reinvigorating its service, which many users have complained about becoming stale and uninspired in the face of Spotify Everything You Need to Know About the New Spotify Spotify is no longer just a music streaming service. At an event in New York, Spotify launched a bunch of new features, including video streaming, in a bid to become an entertainment hub for users. Read More and Apple Music Getting Started With Apple Music — What You Need to Know After the purchase of Beats last year, Apple has finally unleashed its streaming music service upon the world. Read More . It’s a great idea too, offering users a Utopian radio experience that traditional broadcasters cannot compete with.

Turn Yourself Into a Jedi on Facebook

With The Force Awakens just days away from release, the Star Wars hype train continues to roll on relentlessly. You can’t walk into a store without being urged to buy some Star Wars merchandise, and now your favorite social network is about to get bombarded with Star Wars-themed profile pictures. That is at least if Facebook is your favorite social network Facebook Myths Busted: 10 Common Misconceptions You Shouldn't Believe There is a lot of misinformation floating around about Facebook. You'll be surprised by how many of your Facebook beliefs are completely and utterly wrong. Read More .


This is because you can now add a lightsaber to your current Facebook profile picture. Simply head to the Star Wars Movies Facebook page, choose the red lightsaber of the Sith or the blue lightsaber of the Jedi, and away you go. You can choose to either change your profile picture permanently or have it revert back to its pre-lightsaber form in one hour, one day, or one week.

Star Wars So Far in Under 3 Minutes

And finally, we suspect you’re one of the millions of people gearing up to watch the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, this weekend. But wait, it has been years since you’ve watched the previous six Star Wars movies, and you’ve forgotten some of the important plot points…

Don’t panic, as YouTube channel Eclectic Method has you covered. The video is only three minutes long, and yet it contains all of the most important parts of the awesome originals and pathetic prequels 5 Reasons to Avoid Buying Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection You'd do well to give Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection, which is now available on a range of digital platforms, a very wide berth. Here's why. Read More . And, lo and behold, Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks are nowhere to be seen. Result!

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Are you happy to register your drone? Should Homeland Security be vetting Facebook? Have you tried Thumbprint Radio yet? Are you a Jedi or Sith Lord on Facebook? Have you booked to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens?


Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.

Image Credits: Steffen Voß via Flickr

Related topics: Drone Technology, Facebook, Internet Radio, Star Wars, Twitter.

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  1. Anonymous
    December 16, 2015 at 12:36 am

    What exactly is their definition of a drone? Does it include 4-inch quad-copters with no camera? At what point does your kid's toy become an unmanned aircraft? These should be easily and obviously answered (and they're not) if this program is to work

  2. Anonymous
    December 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    According to The Hill, the DHS hasn’t yet employed this obvious policy for fear of a “civil liberties backlash.”

    As an American, I feel that my civil liberties are violated every time a fellow American is killed by a scum of the Earth terrorist who should never have even gotten in to my country because common sense and due vigilance, SHOULDN'T HAVE ALLOWED IT!

    However, there's this big thing in the way called, "political correctness", that sort of turns off the common sense factor. Why is it so much of a crime for me to not want to be dead, that we have to dance around and handle with kid gloves, such issues?

  3. Anonymous
    December 15, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    "This is sure to annoy drone owners across the U.S., who are suddenly faced with having their hobby regulated."
    Well, ain't that just too damn bad!!! Since model airplanes are regulated, the drones should also be. There is basically no difference between the two.