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Inside Drones

Inside Drones (May 4th, 2018)

A bill making its way through the Illinois state legislature would allow police to fly surveillance drones over large events. Introduced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the bill would amend the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, allowing authorities to fly drones over festivals, concerts, protests and other gatherings. The proposal is a response to the mass shooting that killed dozens of people at a Las Vegas music festival last year. “I don’t want Chicago to be the next Vegas-style outdoor terrorist attack,” said Democratic state Sen. Martin Sandoval. The proposed law has drawn criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, which argues that it would invade people's privacy. - TRIBUNE

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Criminals used a swarm of drones to disrupt a hostage rescue operation last year, according to a top FBI official. Joseph Mazel, the FBI's operational technology law unit chief, told attendees of the AUVSI drone conference that the criminals purposely flew several small drones to obstruct a rescue team's view of the situation. The drone pilots attempted "high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them [out]," Mazel said. “We were then blind." Agents then lost site of the attacker. The military news site Defense One reported that the incident occurred during the winter in the outskirts of a large U.S. city. Further details were not available. - THE VERGE

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A Chinese drone manufacturer broke the Guinness World Record for most drones flown simultaneously. EHang Egret deployed 1,374 drones during a 13-minute light show above the Chinese city of Xi'an on Sunday. The drones flew in 16 different formations, including a Buddha and a camel. Intel previously held the record after flying 1,218 drones during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games in February. - THE DRIVE

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Drones dropped drugs and cellphones at a prison on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao. According to the prison's director, guards intercepted the drones after they dropped the contraband while inmates were outside for recreational time last weekend. "One of the drones had five phones, the other drugs," said Urny Florán, director of the prison formally named the Sentro di Detenshon i Korekshon Kòrsou (SDKK). After the drones were seized, guards discovered large quantities of drugs and 27 mobile phones during a cell visit, which may have been delivered by drone. - CURAÇAO CHRONICLE

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