back to article No-no cop: Illinois bans drones from using facial recognition or weapons

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Friday signed HB 3902, which allows the US state's law enforcement agencies to use drones at some public events – but prohibits equipping them with facial recognition software or weaponry, with some exceptions. The new state law, dubbed the Drones as First Responders Act, takes effect …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can armed drones shoot straight?

    Seems like they would be have to weight several hundreds of pounds to shoot straight while flying. Of course there are other problem too - but that's a very basic one.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      "Armed" doesn't necessarily have to mean shooting bullets. If it shot something lighter or at lower velocity such issues would be minimized.

      The bad publicity from giving a drone a gun is something I just don't see anyone (other than some redneck making a video hoping the fame catapults him to the republican house) wanting that. But I could see some police departments wanting a drone that shot tear gas canisters, or shot paintballs to mark members of a riot so police could apprehend them later (i.e. paintballs containing the same stuff that currency dye packs do so you can't easily wash it off) That's probably the "armed" they are talking about.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        >Taser maker Axon last year proposed arming drones to protect school children,

        Schools are relatively poorly defended, wouldn't simple artillery be more cost effective?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

          Schools are relatively poorly defended, wouldn't simple artillery be more cost effective?

          Pointed in or out?

          1. parlei Bronze badge

            Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

            Yes.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        These are American pigs we're talking about. They want guns and bombs.

      3. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        There could easily be non-projectile weapons such a lasers or high luminosity beams of light. New LED torches can be up to 100,000 lumens, enough to blind someone (temporarily, I hope).

        https://www.zdnet.com/home-and-office/energy/brightest-flashlight/

        1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

          Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

          They aren't going to want to use something that might cause a permanent injury like a laser, it would open the state to lawsuits. I can see a case for a needle gun on a drone though. Very light, thin needles that autoinject a small tranquilizer or paralytic could slow a person down. I think I'd set it to take 5 needles for a full dose so as to give the cop a little more control over how knocked down a person is, with a few double dose darts for when they need to stop the perp NOW.

          This could be a whole new business for someone, feel free to use the idea.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

            >cause a permanent injury .... it would open the state to lawsuits

            So it will be fitted with 50cal machine guns. No 'injury' guaranteed

          2. Catkin Silver badge

            Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

            There really aren't any tranquilisers that let the recipient maintain control of their airway or breath reflex. The last time someone strung out on strong sedatives died in police custody, a lot of Americans reacted poorly and I think it would go even worse if those drugs were administered by the authorities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      Do you really think American pigs care?

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        Aw, the quality of anti-US propaganda has dropped significantly... Where is the wit?

    3. Marcelo Rodrigues

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      "Seems like they would be have to weight several hundreds of pounds to shoot straight while flying."

      Not really. You don't need to put an aircraft .50 machine gun on it. A light 22 (or a 9mm) is more than enough.

      Put the gun at the center of the drone and recoil is your only problem.

      Sure, it won't be a 500g drone, but I think it coild be done with something weighting 2 or 3kg on the whole.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        >You don't need to put an aircraft .50 machine gun on it. A light 22 (or a 9mm) is more than enough.

        You're suggesting the police use small calibre weapons against dangerous school children?

        What are you, some sort of commie hippie homosexualist ?

    4. Mayday Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      “ Seems like they would be have to weight several hundreds of pounds to shoot straight while flying”

      Not necessarily. I have a consumer grade drone (DJI Mavic 3) which has. “Cine” mode which enables super stable and slow flying. It’s compensates for strong, gusty winds to keep the subject in frame. Presumably a Police grade drone costing 20x as much could be more stable, more accurate and could use the compensating software to calculate windage, drop and other ballistic info required to put just about any sort of projectile you want onto a target.

    5. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      Put a shaped charge in the drone body and you're done, the drone IS the firearm/weapon.

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

        aka slaughterbots

    6. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Can armed drones shoot straight?

      Depends on what it is shooting.

      https://throwflame.com/products/flamethrower-drone-kit/

  2. Grunchy Silver badge

    Just because cops can’t use them doesn’t mean organized crime won’t use them. You could rig up a drone with a 3D printed weapon no problem, or fire accelerant, or acid, or it could blow a cloud of fentanyl or sarin gas. An explosive would be trivial, as Ukraine is demonstrating on a daily basis. People have rigged up cellular-controlled drones with first-person cameras, presumably you could use something like that from anywhere in the world.

    (The movie was “Runaway” from 1994 with Magnum, P. I.)

  3. jmch Silver badge

    Facial recognition restrictions?

    "the law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence."

    Reasonable suspicion of possible le destruction of evidence covers 100% of use cases.

    Refreshing to see that weapons ban is unequivocal and total, including non-lethal

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Facial recognition restrictions?

      Consult the book of armaments.

      All chant, "My God, it's coming right for us!"

      Fire the official police issue bazooka at the nursery school

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Stupid

    The cops will just mount 24hr 'public safety' missions.

  5. stiine Silver badge

    what didn't they ban?

    Oh, yes, contracting for drone services and paying for information that's already been collected.

    If there's one thing you can trust lawmakers to do, you know that it has nothing to do with making laws.

  6. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    So "facial recognition and weapons" is fine?

    "facial recognition or weapons" means that a drone must have both to be allowed.

    I thought The Reg is targeted to IT - not any more?

  7. OhForF' Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Ban on "onboard" only?

    the statute initially bans "onboard facial recognition software that works in conjunction with the drone,"

    Easy to work around, you don't have facial recognition on board but only the camer to record and stream to a ground station.

    The facial recognition software can then run on some iron on the ground - easier to do that way anyway if you want to use the power supply of the drone to keep it in the air and not to power some processing.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Ban on "onboard" only?

      Agree, I thought one of the big features of 5G was its ability to support near real time remote processing and command and control, necessary for driverless vehicles…

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ban on "onboard" only?

      According to the article, post-processing also seems to be banned. But I despair of the way things are going in LeftPondia (not that RightPondia is much better in some ways).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A well regulated flying militia

    C’mon guys, the answer is more guns, it’s always more guns…

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A well regulated flying militia

      We've tried more guns and it simply isn't working.

      The only alternative is to try bigger guns.

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