(Mis)Uses of Technology
Drones have moved beyond the novelty stage, and are now capable of having a global impact. That was shown most dramatically by the recent drone attack on the world's largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia. The loss of production has caused the price of oil to spike, and fears about a global recession to mount -- all because of a few tiny drones. An article in the Guardian suggests:
Drones are now an integral part of the inventory of the region's most advanced militaries, and the also-rans. Non state actors have been clamouring to secure them as well -- convinced by the utility of hard-to-detect, dispensable flying toys to be used as weapons of war.
But as Techdirt has noted before, drones are not all about death and destruction. BBC News has an interesting example of a novel use from Russia. It concerns a police raid on the flat of Sergey Boyko, who heads the local branch of the movement of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Raids were conducted in more than 40 cities across the country, allegedly investigating money laundering, something denied by Navalny's supporters. Elsewhere, the police seized activists' computers and mobile phones. But they came away empty-handed from their raid on Boyko, thanks to the use of a small drone:
The drone was loaded with various hard disks, solid-state drives and flash sticks containing "very important" information that he did not want to fall into the police's hands, according to the activist.
"Done. The evacuation has been carried out. The drone reached its destination," he says at one point.
The drone's destination was an unnamed friend of Boyko, presumably not an obvious one that the police might easily find in their search for the data. Boyko was clearly expecting to be raided. He not only had the presence of mind to have a drone to hand for the delivery, but he also recorded the police raid as it was happening. The video concludes with a plea for viewers to support the Navalny campaign financially -- a neat way of using the police raid against the authorities who ordered it. The whole episode is another indication of how Russians seem able to keep calm in even the most difficult situations, which is probably just as well given the way that some people drive there.
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Filed Under: activists, drones, russia, secrecy, sergey boyko, strategy, technology