Drone, Drone Bring Me Some Drugs

by Corali on October 2, 2017 - 8:13am


(Photo Illustration: Diana Quach) 

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is more and more present in everyday life. What we call drone or UAV/UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) are aircraft that are able to fly without direct contact with a human, so with anyone inside during the fly. They can film a wedding or take a good picture during vacation, but they also can delivery drug in prison. This scenario happens more frequently than we think according to an article of Paul Cherry, named “Number of drone sightings near Quebec detention centres skyrockets” and published in Montreal Gazette on September 24, 2017. With new technologies come new issues and law that will regulate them. But do our laws enough strict to held this new area or do we need to improve them? As it is often said that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, let compare our law to USA ones.


In Canada, if you are flying for fun you don’t need to register your drone. Transport Canada has simple rules if you want to use your drone with security and without fearing to break the law. For example, it says that you can’t fly over or near of airport or airspace. Also, you need to always clearly see your drone. But what happens if you break this rules or if your drone is heavier than the limit of 35 kg. If you don’t respect the legislation, you can end up with a fine that can go to 3000$. If you have a drone heavier than 35 kg you need to obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate before flying your drone. But even with these restrictions, people can do wrong use of a drone, like delivery contraband in jail. In Paul Cherry article, it said that more and more drone is seen near a prison. “During the period covering 2013-2014, four possible drone sightings were reported. During the period covering 2016-2017, 120 were reported.” Does our law need to be improved? Maybe. But it is better in another country? Maybe not.


Like us, in the USA, they have issues with drones that are flying near a prison and are delivering contraband. In USA Today, Waseem Abbasi published an article named “Inmates fly mobile phones, drugs and porn into jail - via drone” on June 15, 2017, that talks about drones smuggled drug in America's prisons. They have the same issue than us but they have different laws to deal with it. On Federal Aviation Administration website of the USA, if you want to fly for fun your drone you have two choices. You can register you on FAA and obtain a FAA Remote PIlot Certificate or you can just fly without a permit if you fly in accordance with special rules. These rules look like don’t fly near an airport, always see your drone and follow security rules. Also, your drone need can’t be over 55 lbs (around 25 kg). In Waseem Abbasi article, Troy Rule a drone legislation advocate says that “Civilian drones are becoming more inexpensive, easy to operate and powerful. A growing number of criminals seem to be recognizing their potential value as tools for bad deeds.” Drones users cause problems and law don’t seem strict enough to stop them.


To come back to the main question if we should take example on USA drones laws, I think we don’t need shouldn’t because they also have problems with drone and each country need to try some technique to find the one that will fit. I also find a good article that talks about a study that shows that impact of falling drone is not as dangerous as I thought. It was published on website Fortune, on April 29, 2017, and named “Here’s What Happens When a Drone Falls On Your Head” by Jonathan Vanian. It compares Phantom 3 (drone) falling with wood and steel one. With same weight, the drone was the one with the less impact energy because it was air resistant. Also “Both steel debris and the wood block caused significantly more damage to the dummy than the drone, which absorbs much of the impact because it's made of more flexible materials.” So yes, I think we need to improve our law because they seem to not stopping prison drone’s delivery. This sector will evolve faster and faster and we need to keep the pace because otherwise we will be exceeded. See what future drones will look like in this article published on BBC by David Hambling on April 27, 2017, and named “The Next Area of Drone Will be Defined by ‘Swarms’.” This is when many drones become one and we call them swarm.


-Paul Cherry. “Number of drone sightings near Quebec detention centres skyrockets.” Montreal Gazette, September 24,2017, http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/number-of-drone-sightings-near-provincial-detention-centres-has-skyrocketed . Accessed 1 october, 2017.

-Transport Canada. “Utiliser Votre Drone de Façon Sécuritaire et légale”. Government of Canada,http://www.tc.gc.ca/fra/aviationcivile/opssvs/utiliser-drone-facon-securitaire-legale.html .Accessed 1 october, 2017.

-Waseem Abbasi. “Inmates fly mobile phones, drugs and porn into jail - via drone”. USA Today, June 15, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/15/inmates-increasingly-look-drones-smuggle-contraband-into-their-cells/102864854/ . Accessed 1 october, 2017.

-Federal Aviation Administration. “Flying for Fun Under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft”. United States Department of Transportation, https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/#ffr . Accessed 1 october, 2017.

-Jonathan Vanian. “Here’s What Happens When a Drone Falls On Your Head”. Fortune, April 29,2017, http://fortune.com/2017/04/29/drone-faa-head-crash-study/ . Accessed 1 october, 2017.

-David Hambling. “The Next Area of Drone Will be Defined by ‘Swarms’.” BBC, April 27, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170425-were-entering-the-next-era-of-drones . Accessed 1 october, 2017.



About the author

I'm a new student at college Champlain who, like most one, try to not fall asleep when I wake up at 6 a.m. for school. :)