Personal Drones: A Clear and Present Danger?

This has little to do with writing, and more to do with human nature. I also find myself conflicted by my love of toys and fear of the misuse of technology.

I’ve gotten into flying remote control drones with video cameras on them. Example of one of my videos:

They are extremely fun to fly, and then you have the added bonus of being able to relive the adventure over and over again from the point of view of the drone’s camera.

Bear in mind I’m flying toys, not professional drones. But even as I was first flying them, and watching videos of the big professional models (some of which can carry many pounds of payload) it crossed my mind how easily it would be to weaponize these.

Then yesterday I was reading about how the Secret Service was freaked out because they found one on the White House grounds.

As I was telling some friends the other day, it’s only a matter of time before these are either going to be severely restricted or outlawed altogether. While I don’t really want it to happen, I feel it needs to happen. You can easily buy a drone that can be remotely piloted, or even have a course automatically set, and it can fly for miles — and carry pounds of anything, anywhere.

Explosives? Nerve gas? Biological agents?

Yes. All of the above. Easily.

Think you can protect yourself by jamming the remote control signal? Think again. They can be programmed with a destination and then guide itself there with onboard GPS. For the price of a good camera, you can have your own personal guided weapon.

Friends urged me to not say anything about this, as it will give bad people bad ideas — but I’m sorry, the bad people already have the bad ideas, and that’s why I must unhappily urge that these fun, awesome devices be locked down and regulated. Because if you don’t do it now, something bad will happen, and then they’ll be locked down and regulated anyway.

Doing it now will save lives, because I guarantee you deranged minds are already plotting evil.

This is not something I want to be able to point to and say, “I told you so.”

Still doubt it? Check out how far this readily available drone flew, and think what could have happened if the remote pilot was a terrorist:

 

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