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United Kingdom Crime

UK Man Gets Britain's First-Ever Conviction For Illegal Drone Use 77

jfruh writes: Nigel Wilson of Nottingham was quite a drone enthusiast: he flew a drone over a Champions League soccer match low enough to startle police horses, and at other times flew drones over iPro Stadium in Derby, the Emirates Stadium in north London, and near the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the HMS Belfast and the Shard tower in London. He's been convicted under the Air Navigation Order 2009 and fined £1,800.
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UK Man Gets Britain's First-Ever Conviction For Illegal Drone Use

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  • by angel'o'sphere ( 80593 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:10AM (#50565751) Journal

    I really wonder how it can be News that a criminal gets fined.

    It is not only common sense that he may not fly drowns over other peoples private property, but it is explicitely forbidden!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Drones stories are second only to 3D printing stories on slashdot's "must feature no matter how dull" topic list. Now if you have a story about a 3D printed drone, well, just give it the whole front page.

      • by Barny ( 103770 )

        A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT?

        • by ze_jua ( 910531 )
          A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT, and has also iPhone connectivity with an app ?
          • by Barny ( 103770 )

            A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks cars!

            • A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks Tesla cars!

              • A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks Tesla cars!

                A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks Tesla cars and then holds the car hostage until a ransom is paid in bitcoins and, using Stringray, sends the car's phone metadata to the NSA?

                • A nuclear armed 3D printed drone with Anthrax spore coated plutonium blades that connects to the IoT, has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks Tesla cars and then holds the car hostage until a ransom is paid in bitcoins and, using Stringray, sends the car's phone metadata to the NSA

                  In that case ./ will go gaga about the involvement of the NSA and forget the rest.

            • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

              A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks cars!

              ...and mines Bitcoin, FTW.

            • by TWX ( 665546 )

              A 3D printed drone that connects to the IoT and has iPhone connectivity with an app that hacks cars!

              Well, the IoT thing and the iPhone thing are redundant, but if the only way to hack a car was to keep up with it on the road and to establish a direct point to point connection to it, this would probably be the solution to make that happen.

      • by cjb658 ( 1235986 )

        We just keep droning on and on about it.

    • You evidently missed the "first-ever" in the title.
    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      I really wonder how it can be News that a criminal gets fined.

      Given all the stories about drone misuse (real or theoretical) it certainly hits my news threshold that someone has actually been prosecuted and given a decent sized fine.

  • Drones [wikipedia.org] are used since probably more than 2,000 years without having to apply for a permit.
  • Drone enthusiast? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:22AM (#50565805)
    I would think a real drone enthusiast would know enough to not do such stupid things with them. This is why we can't have nice drones.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      In some fields "enthusiast" implies a degree of stupidity. Car enthusiasts often drive recklessly, hi-fi enthusiasts waste huge sums of money on snake oil. It looks like drone enthusiasts may be joining that list.

  • by neilo_1701D ( 2765337 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:24AM (#50565817)

    ... I say "good". The current laws are working: you do something stupid with your machine, you get hit with a fine. Leaving a trail of all your illegal stunts on YouTube is probably not the smartest thing to do, either.

    Just because you can fly one of these things doesn't mean it won't suddenly drop out of the sky. Over the weekend, I was practicing nose-in POI orbits in a big, empty field. The earlier flights were non-eventful; this one seemed no different until the battery cover popped off and a propeller hit it, with the machine dropping 20' into the ground. I believe I hadn't seated the battery connector correctly and it shifted during the flight, causing the cable to put pressure on the cover and it blew out. Fortunately, the only damage was a snapped blade, cracked landing gear and the camera was knocked off it's gimbal mounts. If I was being an idiot and flew over the crowds at Wimbledon (like this guy), it may not have had such a happy ending.

    The laws are working. Heavily fine a few more idiots and let the rest of us fly responsibly.

    • by brambus ( 3457531 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:48AM (#50565903)
      100x this. As a pilot myself, we're acutely aware of things like temporary flight restrictions over crowded spaces (especially games) and restricted areas over places with special security requirements. Now I'm not a fan of overburdening regulation, but I fully support public education of all potential drone pilots that as soon as they put their craft over anybody's head, it's no longer just a toy. Maybe even require a license to fly a drone over/near populated areas.
      • by macaddict ( 91085 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @08:46AM (#50566221)

        We wouldn't need overburdening regulation if these dumbasses would act like adults with more than two brain cells to rub together. This is why we can't have nice things.

        I'm also a (newbie) pilot. I wouldn't be opposed to having to pass a safety course and getting a license (similar to a driver's license) if it keeps (most) idiots from ruining the hobby for the rest of us. Or at least allows the same punishments that car drivers get for reckless driving, because the drone pilot can no longer use "I didn't know the rules" as an excuse.

        • We wouldn't need overburdening regulation if these dumbasses would act like adults with more than two brain cells to rub together. This is why we can't have nice things.

          Alas, it's the 1% of dumbasses that might eventually make regulation a necessity. If there's one constant in the world, it's that there will always be some idiots.

    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @08:04AM (#50565975) Journal
      It reads like a sensible ruling. A stiff fine but not excessively so, and no panic "terrorist" or similarly silly charges for flying near Buckingham Palace.
    • In principle, it shouldn't be all that hard to design drones that don't pose a risk in crowded areas, that harmlessly spin to the ground if anything goes wrong. Blanket restrictions like this strongly discourage such developments.

      A second issue with these restrictions is that they often mix up criminal and civil matters and are at risk of getting abused by police and politicians for purposes other than public safety and protecting private property rights.

    • Another issue is the Ipro stadium (used to be called Pride Park) in derby is on a complex of mostly privately owned businesses with a fair bit of foot traffic (thing pizza hut/costo etc.), so even it flying over roads only a single malfunction could cause injury.
  • Nigel the asshole (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:26AM (#50565825)
    Nigel Wilson of Nottingham sounds like quite the asshole.
  • the HMS Belfast? Don't think so. Expand the "HMS" and see if it makes sense.

    • Re:Shite (Score:5, Informative)

      by C0R1D4N ( 970153 ) on Monday September 21, 2015 @07:39AM (#50565873)
      It does make sense. The ship is a museum parked in the river. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why wouldn't Her Majesty's Ship Belfast make any sense? It's a ship that belongs to Her Majesty via the Royal Navy as all Navy ships do. It's named after the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom of which she is Queen.

      So what exactly is the problem?

      • Re: Shite (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Note the emphasis on the word "the".

  • by kbg ( 241421 )

    As I drone enthusiast myself I say it is a good thing this asshole was fined. You never ever fly over any congested areas because it doesn't matter if you are a good pilot or not, you can always have rotor malfunction or interferance leading to loss of control and over congested areas that is very likely to lead to injuries to bystanders.

  • He flew a drone over a Champions League soccer match low enough to startle police horses, and at other times flew drones over iPro Stadium in Derby...

    Wait, there's a place called iPro Stadium? Who was the fool to think of this name and why hasn't Apple sued them yet?

    • The stadium is the home of Derby County football club, it used to be called Pride Park(like the rest of the complex) but got renamed due to a branding deal with a drinks company with a name that shouldn't take much guessing.

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