aNewDomain — A small drone capable of carrying one pound loads crashed on the White House lawn on Monday, Jan. 26. Is there no protection against these small, remote-control devices? It turns out that the drone was flown by an amateur who lost control over the four rotor machine — an inebriated, off-duty employee for a government intelligence agency who decided it was a good time to test-fly his friend’s quadcopter drone, which sells for hundreds of dollars and is popular among hobbyists.
Image Credit: US SECRET SERVICE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
This is much more than a drunk D.C. joke. This is a warning — and just the start of a long debate over drone use. Of course, we all need to be aware that the King of Drones — U.S. President Barack Obama — is a high value priority of ISIS, AL Qaeda and other groups from the Middle East.
The question: Who will protect the President?
The military application of drones could have a boomerang effect in the U.S. — what goes around does eventually come around. The number of U.S. drone strikes in, say, Yemen, just keep growing. Someday there might be a boomerang effect — a consequence for the escalation of this technology. It seems the Secret Service did not get the no-drones in the White House memo.
Image Credit: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
A Tech Solution? How to Block Drones
The White House roof is full of missile prevention technology. The events of 9/11 has made everyone aware that flying objects into government buildings is a legitimate threat. But, in reality, this tactic signaled the last war, not the coming one. You don’t need a group of “martyrs” flying on passenger planes anymore. All you need is a drone that can carry 50 pounds of explosives to cause major upheaval.
This Christmas, small drones were among the most popular gift under the tree in the U.S. Manufacturers stated that they sold 200,000 new unmanned aerial vehicles during the holidays. While the rapid adoption of drones in military tactics shows that drones are becoming a common weapon among armed forces, their appearance in Walmart serves, in turn, to normalize their deployment in U.S. society in both the gaming and hobbyist domain.
Did you buy a drone? The FAA tells you what is legal in a (very funny) video. The FAA is currently at work on regulations in the U.S., which I doubt will be followed by Al Qaeda, especially after they watch this safety video.
Video: Know Before You Fly
The Secret Service needs to be ready for the remote control stage of terror and warfare. Maybe
it’s time to install an electromagnetic perimeter fence to protect the White House? Such a device could jam communications while controlling and commanding features of foreign mobile devices and smartphones. Such phones can launch, operate and guide devices carrying explosive payloads, take video films in color and relay data in real time to their operators.
Had this virtual fence been in place, the phone-operated drone which flew at low altitude into the White House compound and crashed on its southeast side would never have made it that far. Mashable states that this is not so simple:
… would be to use a jamming device that floods drones with radio noise and makes them lose connection with their pilots. But the risk is that a jammer could mess up other aircrafts or devices in the vicinity. (Jamming devices are illegal in the United States.)”
The real question is how can we jam in a sophisticated way? We don’t know, as we are not part of the intelligence community that could create such a device. But the perfect jamming device can be created, of that I am sure. Something like an electronic dome. I just wonder who will create it.
Meanwhile, anyone can buy a drone. Regulation is slow — as usual, law makers are behind tech by decades. The protectors of the president, cannot afford to be behind. Defense in the drone age needs rethinking, including the guidelines in a post-9/11 world.