When the first page of legislation begins describing ‘law-enforcement’ and ‘unmanned aircraft systems’, you know you are in for something special.
Of course there are going to be knee-jerk reactions to a bill that has anything to do with drones and law-enforcement. There might be well thought out opinions on how this could be both good and bad for citizens. And then there are going to be straight-ridiculous claims from outlets quoting the tin-foil hat wearing crazies of the Internets.
So when the Verge decided to report a click-bait piece, based on what will no doubt get propagated on headlines like ‘Police can use drones armed with tasers‘, I had to get this vetted. I don’t know if anyone at the Verge has actually ever piloted a drone, or if they have some fantastic imagination of what para-military technology is like…realistically. But the average public schooled knucklehead would take issue with such jackassery.
While tasing someone or deploying any LTL/OTL munitions from a drone sounds pretty bad-ass, think of the logistics behind something like this from a practical standpoint. The decision to tase an unruly non-compiler is split, so unless a drone was deployed with an officer at traffic stops, that rules out pretty much anything except crowd control and area or border enforcement. So I decided to hop on over to the Internets read this bill myself to see how a cop is going to deploy a drone and violate some innocent by-standers rights to not be machine-gunned with rubber bullets or tear gas.
That’s when I got confused. Because in the second sentence of the bill, it says:
“Unmanned aircraft” means any aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention within or on the aircraft.
On the second page of North Dakota HB no. 1328 (keep in mind this is double spaced) it states that a warrant must be used to deploy a drone. Why anyone would try to get a warrant to tase someone when it specifically states that a drone is supposed to be operated without the possibility of direct human intervention should sound pretty stupid, because it is.
Use of force. A state agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an unmanned aircraft armed with any lethal or nonlethal weapons, including firearms, pepper spray, bean bag guns, mace, and sound-based weapons.
I’m not sure what kind of stupid is required for a tech-news outlet to write a piece labled: Police in North Dakota can now use drones armed with tasers, citing a Bill that specifically states: A state agency may not authorize the use of, including granting a permit to use, an unmanned aircraft armed with any lethal or nonlethal weapons, including firearms, pepper spray, bean bag guns, mace, and sound-based weapons, but after reading the 5-page double-spaced document 3 times, (I went to public school) I can inform you with a little confidence that even if North Dakota police possess the kind of technology that allows it to deploy a drone that swoops out of the sky through your open bedroom window and tase you and your family while they are blissfully sleeping, it is against the law for them to actually do so.