Drone disruption at events – Is it a real risk?

Disruptive technology is usually a good thing. When new tech breaks into our daily lives it is usually viewed with awe. The average man on the street often views the rise of the drone as something of an entertaining nature. Until it affects something related to their daily lives, few consider drone disruption and the effect that drones have on every aspect of our lives.

It may seem obvious that drones have the potential to disrupt any event, and indeed they do. It is how they disrupt events now and will continue to do so in the future that needs to be addressed with some degree of urgency. Events should not only be considered in the context of public events. They can be private, such as closed business events and family events. Considering all types of events both public and private, it becomes clear that drones hold massive potential to cause disruption. And with disruption there comes a cost.

Drone disruption at commercial events

Outdoor concerts have become a mainstay of modern summer time entertainment. These events are a core part of our lives globally. Considering the impact of drones at these events should therefore be considered a priority. Public events present all sorts of risks, adding drones to the mix is likely to put more pressure on the organisers.

Public events must prepare for security considerations, health and safety and law enforcement. The use of drones can have an impact on all of these. Large events where there are thousands if not tens of thousands of attendees can potentially turn into a disaster zone very quickly.

The criminal issues are obvious, such as transportation and dealing in contraband at events such as drugs.  The problems because of this   seem to be endless. Enforcing the type of laws required to control drone crime can become time consuming and draw on resources that are unaffordable. Privacy issues really do become an issue at public festivals as people often seek a private space in the open air to change their clothes.

There is of course far more sinister potential for drones at events. There may be robust search processes at the entrance to events  for offensive weapons such as sharp knives. They are however now easily smuggled in over a fence using a drone. This applies to anything that a person would not ordinarily be able to get through a security check.

Where there are bands playing the implementation of video of photography rights may be seriously compromised causing fiscal damage to the organisers.

Sporting events

Drones have already been known to cause serious disruption at sporting events in the US. Not only football games but tennis and other open air sports have suffered disruption. This is not only unpleasant for the fans but cause difficulty for the players too. Think of the potential disruption to the outcome in horse racing events which involve large scale betting. Drones at events that make up part of an allied industry such as gambling, or hospitality could create serious problems, such as attempts to fix the outcome of any particular race or event.

Drone disruption at private events

Your wedding day may be the most important day in your life. The competition between freelance photographers to obtain the best images possible of celebrity events such as weddings funerals, holidays and new relationships is almost unquantifiable. Drones now provide a new means and opportunity to compete in this arena. The use of a drone to gain visible entry to a private event is clearly an invasion of privacy. The lines are blurred when the event is held in a public place where access has been cordoned off.

Celebrities aside, there is immense potential for others to disrupt and cause problems for the private individual too. Family members that have been excluded from family events may decide to use a drone to intrude.

Open air markets

Drone disruption will likely create new problems for law enforcement and health and safety officials. They already create problems at sporting events and private events. Their potential to cause havoc at open air markets, farmers markets and community events appear to be untethered. Terrorism and security risks are always at the forefront.  Privacy and commercial espionage issues do come in close to the lead of concerns as well.

Drone disruption and the regulation of their use is currently only superficially legislated for. THere is a massive potential for exponential fallout. With this disruption authorities find themselves shutting the proverbial stable door after the horse has bolted.