If drones took off (heh) as a private way to send packages and letters over short or long distances, law enforcement would lose an important crime-fighting tool: their surveillance of the mail system. Much like electronic communication has gone “dark” thanks to encryption tools, the postal system could go “dark” thanks to private robot postmen.
This may sound far-fetched, but private, illicit drone deliveries are already happening. Last month, three men and a woman were caught smuggling tobacco into a Georgia prison. They used an Octocopter to do it. Unfortunately for them, their drone wasn’t an autonomous one and they had to crouch in the woods near the prison yard and watch the flight of their copter with binoculars. If it had been an autonomous drone, they may well have gotten away with the crime, and the smugglers wouldn’t be facing up to 20 years in their drone delivery zone for crossing prison guard lines with contraband."
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