North Dakota cops can now use lobbyist-approved taser/pepper-spray drones


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2015/08/26/north-dakota-cops-can-now-use.html


#2


#3

Well this should help with crowd control at the many riots and violent protests that occur in… North… Dakota.


#4

Well, looks like people are going to get into the habit of shooting down drones on sight…

(ETA: it’ll be interesting to see what the popular response will be when - and it’s a matter of when, not if - someone finally gets killed by a - likely government - drone in this country.)


#5

Catapult… ball bearings…


#6

Future North Dakota press conference:
Sometimes what we are finding is that some suspects at night are hard to see, and in order to see them better the officer’s have to fly the drones directly into them. Yes, it’s true, this can cause the drones to explode, which is after all a pretty efficient way of getting enough light to see the suspects by. Now these young men that were killed in an accidental environment brightening action were not exactly angels and they were in the wrong place at the wrong time in particularly suspicious circumstances - one of them was carrying overdue library books, and who reads at night is a question anyone would be likely to ask. Investigation has shown that there was no malice in blowing them up, only the natural policing instinct of the officers involved to cast more light on the subject.

No sorry, the books also were burned beyond recognition.


#7

catapult. bobcat.


#8

rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, tasers and sound cannon.

So, the drone-mounted gun is a thing, but would the others be particularly feasible? No one seems to have talked about the sound cannon in a while. Pepper spray and tasers seem like the sort of thing where you’d have to get the drone sufficiently close as to be able to easily knock it down. And it doesn’t seem like a drone would be able to deliver tear gas in large quantities.

Of course, the time may come when it may be much more feasible to adapt a drone to any such purposes, but then the future probably holds all sorts of surprises.


#9

There’s Predator Drones patrolling the Canadian border.
Of course I should already know that.


#10

Dear @doctorow,
Stop writing books please. This shit is coming true.


#11

So, crimes are already being committed with drones now. How long until police start using anti-drone drones?

How long until we have a televised drone chase down the 405?


#12

Naah, when those things fall from the sky they might hurt somebody. Plus, they might get footage of you carrying a gun, and who needs that kind of obvious evidence against you? (Good luck invoking the Stand Your Ground laws.) Your better bet is to get a device that can take over their controls remotely and pilot them away from the area. (Not that I’m advocating you should actually do that; just saying what you could do if you were so inclined.)


#13

“Little Brother Is Not An Instruction Manual” :). (Bizarrely, not the first time I’ve made that comment :/)


#14

BERNIE FUCKING SANDERS, people.

Where the hell is BB with the good news? Why isn’t BB feeling the Bern?

He’s like, Noam Chomsky’s wet dream of a Prez. Make it fucking happen, Yanks!


#15

I can’t like this enough.
I’m seeing only two articles on Bernie Sanders on BB.
Whaaat? This is insane.
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, much mud is being flung at Jeremy Corbyn and none of it is sticking.
The game has definitely been set up in favour of the corporatists, but the beauty is, we can actually play the game too if we pull together and vote-in somebody with an actual soul.


#16

I don’t know if they’ve merely legalized it but not actually done any engineering yet; but there are several options:

Pepper ‘spray’ proper, has pretty tepid range. Unless you want to scale it up to water-cannon size you aren’t really going to keep a coherent stream together much further than any squirt gun would. For this reason, they have modified paintballs that carry the same chemical payload but offer considerably superior range and potential accuracy(I think that they may a slightly different size, for deliberate incompatibility with standard paintball hardware; but they are in all other respects comparable). Similar encapsulated designs that burst either on impact or on an internal delay fuse are available in 12 gauge shotgun compatible sizes and 40mm grenade launcher sizes.

Standard Taser cartridges are available with ranges up to 35ft; and for a time the company offered ‘XREP’ shells that embedded an entire taser mechanism into a shotgun shell, for ranges beyond those possible with the tethered-dart cartridges. The $150/round price tag made those unpopular, so I think that they are presently discontinued; but if somebody with a ‘homeland security’ grant and a desire for a new toy waved a large enough check at them, I have to assume that Taser would be willing to reactivate the product. It may also have been available in 40mm, not sure; but again, if you wanted it enough, it would become an option.

The LRAD might be a little tricky. They don’t offer datasheets without registration, which I’m not really feeling like; but from what I could get to, they mentioned the amplifiers for their non-integrated, civilian, systems as being 1-2 rack units high. That’s not huge; but it’s not small; and I assume that it is pretty much packed-solid with power supply and amplification silicon, so rather heavy.

Their ruggedized military gear appears to offer integrated amplification; but is typically specced for vehicle or ship mount, where, at minimum, 12-48v at vehicle inverter power levels are going to be available; possibly a dedicated generator.

I suspect that you could get the speaker part onto a drone easily enough; but power supply would severely curtail either endurance or minimum drone size, or both.

CS gas would probably be doable, though its worth would depend in part on the ability of the drone to get a favorable deployment(eg. through a skylight, or into the center of a crowd) rather than sheer volume, which is easier with ground forces.

An M73A CS gas grenade weighs just under 1lb, and could probably be lighter if that were a primary concern(sheet metal is cheap, reliable, and easy to form; but not for those aggressively shaving weight; a more efficient burning agent might also be available, for a better ratio of active CS to aerosolizing support material). Depending on altitude, either M73As or M54s could be fairly easily bodge onto a drone.

For greater efficiency, if the drone’s battery is up to it, direct electrical heating of CS, and injecting the vapor into the downdraft from the propellers, would be shorter range but allow substantially more CS to be carried.

In any of these cases, the drone would be within range of suitably equipped targets(shotguns are probably easiest; but not a good choice when dealing with armed cops just looking for a reason, slingshots require more skill but incur less risk, various improvisations using your own drone, model rocket engines, poles, etc. to toss chunks of unfurling mist net into the area would require some testing but probably be murder on propellers); but not close enough that you could just swat them down, or even necessarily hit them with a pole/banner/etc. and most drones aren’t too big and can be surprisingly nimble.

Losses would definitely be possible; but ‘arranging’ for a flight mishap from far enough away to avoid police reprisal would be more challenging.


#17

Oh, THAT footage? No, it’s policy that we delete all footage of exploded drones because anyone having that footage could use that information to escape or evade law enforcement.


#18

You wouldn’t need a gun, though - all you’d need is a wad of plastic netting (or even filaments, for some), and a large slingshot.


#19

A highly directional RF jammer, with a GPS spoofer (there are already fake GPS signal generators out there, mostly for testing or research). Jam and sever the control link, the drone will attempt to return home. Here you spoof the GPS positioning, to guide it wherever you want to have it. Like when Iranians did that to that US military drone.

And voila, a collection of free spare parts!


#20

Yeah, like Barack Obama! Remember him? Man, I bet if Obama was in the White House we’d never have ended up with these terrifying weaponized police drones.