It looks like the warning Elon Musk’s OpenAI gave earlier this year regarding drones, is already coming true. While those unmanned aircraft are supposed to be used for legitimate purposes such as search-and-rescue operations, film productions, they are now being used by criminals, causing a huge problem for the law enforcement.
At the AUVSI Xponential conference in Denver, the FBI’s operational technology law unit leader, Joe Mazel said that criminals and drug curtails are using drones to search for gaps in facilities’ security forces, and even to livestream their movements.
Last Winter, as an FBI hostage rescue team took up an elevated position to monitor a situation, they heard the buzz of some small drones approaching. Soon those tiny unmanned aircraft enclosed them, swooping past in a series of “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them,” said Mazel. The result? The agents were blinded then from the potential attackers. “It definitely presented some challenges,” Mazel added.
Besides, in order to anticipate the agents’ movement, the attacker group also used drones to livestream footage of them to YouTube. And surprisingly, this incident took place in a major US city.
Apart from this incident, Mazel also revealed some information about those criminal organizations’ use of drones. For instance, they are now using drones to observe the security guard’s movement before a robbery.
In Australia, criminals are using drones to monitor the movement of dock security. If anyone gets too close to one of their compatriots, they can trigger a fire alarm to draw off the forces.
Also, drug cartel smugglers are now using drones to avoid Border Patrol officers, which was previously done by human scouts. It means the smugglers are able to transfer a small amount of high-value narcotics with “little or no fear of arrest.”
As theirs is no quick and easy technological solution to this problem, it is highly possible that this evil use of drone will get worse. Although drone jamming equipment was deployed to the front lines in Syria and Iraq, most of the solutions weren’t tested for use in American cities. If those drone attacks continue to soar, the government may need to restrict the use of the commercial drone in the future.