By Patrick Hruby
Less than a month ago, rumors that celebrity news and gossip website TMZ was interested in obtaining a paparazzi drone prompted privacy concerns and public debate about the appropriate personal and commercial uses of unmanned aerial vehicles.
Now, a new online video poses a more troubling question: What if civilian drones are equipped to shoot more than just pictures?
Titled “Citizen Drone Warfare” and posted to YouTube last week by an anonymous man calling himself “Milo Danger,” the video shows a hobbyist drone equipped with a custom-mounted paintball pistol flying over a grassy field and peppering human-shaped shooting-range targets with pellets.
Following an attack pass by the drone, one of the targets sports three large red blotches on its head and neck area.
“I wanted to show an inevitability of what I think will happen with these drones,” said “Milo,” who lives on the West Coast and spoke to The Washington Times on condition of anonymity. “I’m not advocating bad activities. But I wanted to raise some of the ethical issues we need to think about with this new technology.
“We didn’t post the footage of this, but some of the guys who worked with me on the project weren’t afraid of being shot by paintballs. They wanted to see if they could escape the drone. The answer was, no, they could not.”
Though Federal Aviation Administration regulations do not explicitly mention the use of firearms on drones, they do prohibit any type of recreational flying or dropping objects from aircraft that endanger life or property.