Criminal intent: FBI details how drones are being used for crime

Earlier this year, Elon Musk OpenAI warned that drones could become armed swarms controlled by AI if they are not regulated.

It turns out that this hypothetical future is already becoming reality and is causing enormous problems for the application of the law.

On Thursday, at a conference focusing on unmanned drone technology, the leader of the FBI's operational technology law unit, Joe Mazel, revealed that criminals are using drones to transmit and monitor the officials in charge of enforcing the law, and even "expelling" them from hiding, Defense One reported for the first time.

Last winter, when an FBI hostage rescue team approached a target building, its targets unleashed a swarm of drones in "high-speed low passes" that forced agents to hide and "blinded" them. of possible attackers, Mazel revealed. [19659002] Refused to provide exact details about the time and place, but did reveal that the criminal group also used drones to film live images of FBI agents on YouTube, to anticipate their movements, and that it took place within a important city.

Beyond this particular incident, Mazel and his team have discovered evidence that criminal organizations now use drones to detect breaches of exploitable security before a robbery, such as memorizing the movements of security guards from the air.

The Telegraph reported thieves using drones in case houses before a robbery in 2015, but FBI revelations show that the improvement in artificial intelligence technology has made the drones valuable for more high profile crimes.

For example, Australian smugglers allegedly use live drone-based transmissions to monitor the security movements of the dock and may trigger a fire alarm to deflect security if they get too close to one of their countrymen.

Drug cartel smugglers also now use drones to avoid Border Patrol agents when they cross the border. Andrew Scharnweber, associate chief of the US Customs and Border Protection agency. UU., He said that they used to worry about the "human explorers" who would detect the agents and report the movements through the radio.

"Now that activity has been effectively replaced by drones," Scharnweber said, so the cartel smugglers have "little or no fear of arrest."

Perhaps most chilling of all is that Mazel revealed that now organizations use drones to spy on the entrances to the police precincts, to see "who enters and leaves the premises and who could be cooperating with the police". With this information, they can intimidate the witnesses and discourage the "blowing".

The future of drone regulation

Currently, the US government UU It is studying options to prevent drones from being used for criminal activities. The question is: how far will they go and how will their regulations affect the enthusiasts of the law-abiding drones?

Currently, Congress is reauthorizing the FAA regulating where commercial drones can fly to operate for another five years, and part of this process includes updating their regulatory powers. A couple of proposed updates could change what you can do with your drones.

For example, the FAA guidelines currently state that drones should remain within the owner's line of sight, but many people ignore that. But a proposed amendment would give all drones a remote identification with a license, so that the police can immediately see who the owner is.

"Remote identification is a big part" of reducing drone crime, said FAA security and hazmat safety officer Angela Stubblefield to Defense One.

She also said that "weaponized" consumer drones "They will become illegal if the FAA reauthorization is approved. Currently, the House has passed and will pass through the Senate next.

In the most extreme case, the government could choose to use drones blocking equipment in sensitive areas, as they do in war zones such as Syria and Iraq. However, it has not yet been proven how those interfering would interfere with other commercial aircraft or cellular signals, so it may never be a feasible option.

Another option could be to go directly to commercial drone manufacturers, as the Olympic Committee did when it requested DJI to remotely update its drones so that the device would not fly over PyeongChang ] during the Olympic Winter Games this year.

No-fly zones may end up being a more permanent characteristic of buildings that are sensitive to safety.

Ultimately, if this type of drone attack continues to escalate, it is unclear what the police will do to reduce it, or whether access by civilians to commercial drones could be restricted in the future, similar to possession. of weapons.