Drones, as we all know by now, have a multitude of different uses of which most are positive, such as providing stunning aerial video, monitoring wildlife, delivering parcels and aid packages, and even helping to assess storm damage or find survivors, but it seems that now, they are also being used for other less commendable purposes.
From snooping on other people’s properties and their activities, to smuggling drugs over the walls of jails, it seems that criminals are now using drones to aid them in their misdemeanours.
Drones and how they are being used with criminal intent:
By spraying drones in dark colours, and covering their lights, unmanned aerial devices have been flown over the walls of prison yards at night time, to deliver packages of drugs and other contraband to criminals locked up inside.
Legislation is in place to convict those found guilty of such activities; and can carry sentences of up to 14 months depending upon the country it takes place in, but these are not the only instances of drones being used with criminal intent.
A drone forced five flights at London’s Gatwick airport in the UK to be diverted in recent months, and multiple unmanned aerial devices have been caught up in interrupting the work of the emergency services and posing a threat to wildlife.
If this is a pattern set to continue, just how will law enforcement deal with this?
Identifying criminal pilots:
This is often an impossible task; drones are relatively cheap and very easy to come by, and almost anyone can get their hands on one. Not only that, but governments and law makers are struggling to keep up with the pace of the seemingly endless erroneous uses for drones.
It turns out that more police forces now are engaging with special teams of forensic drone detectives, whose job it is to track down those responsible for flying drones with criminal intent.
So, how can criminal drone pilots be identified, particularly if only the drone is found or fragments of it if it crashed? Or what happens when the police have a potential suspect in custody, but no drone has been found?
Fingerprints and SD cards
Drones are made up many digital elements, and even the devices that control them, such as smartphones and GPS sensors, all form part of that complicated digital world. But, even if you manage to locate the smartphone that controls the drone, each device uses a different operating system, so those responsible for analysing the data will need to be up to speed with each varying system.
Devices recovered from crime scenes such as penitentiaries,can be analysed for flight log data and even DNA and fingerprints on them; the sharpness of the rotors on many drones are quite sharp, often retaining traces of skin cells.
SD cards are invaluable when found, since they may hold incriminating video evidence, and even batteries may retain fingerprints from when they were inserted.
The future of drone crime:
Unfortunately, experts believe that the possibilities for drones being used in criminal ways, is limitless, and that we are only just beginning to see the ways in which they can be used to commit such atrocities as terrorist attacks, for example. This means that identifying the pilots of these devices, is ever more vital and urgent.
With unmanned aerial devices becoming more popular and more widely available – and as technology advances – the ways in which drones may be used to commit crimes or aid in atrocities, is only going to increase.