Thursday, October 29, 2015 by Greg White
As the sale of civilian drones continues to skyrocket in Latin America, so do the crime rates.
Like all kinds of technology, drones can be a double-edged sword used for either good or evil. The same drones that can give media access to hard-to-reach places can also be used to aid the transportation of illegal drugs. Consequently, authorities are scrambling to find a way to effectively regulate drones.
In August, for example, two men pleaded guilty before the U.S. federal court in San Diego for using drones to smuggle 28.5 pounds of heroin into the United States from Mexico.
The misuse of drones isn’t bound to drug lords, however. The amount of drone accidents has also surged in Latin America. Two Argentine women, while walking along a street in Buenos Aires, were hospitalized when a drone suddenly collided with them. The owner of the drone claimed he was merely using the device to film a commercial.
In Mexico, drones are prohibited at archaeological sites. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon to see them soaring with the birds within the capital. Last May, a drone disrupted a concert in Tijuana. A drone approached Spanish singer Enrique Iglesias on stage, and when the singer reached out to touch the drone, a whirling rotor gashed his finger.
Civilian drones provoked concerns when Pope Francis visited South America last month. Ecuador and Paraguay limited the use of civilian drones among the masses that flocked to the Pope. The Bolivian police, on the other hand, employed five drones within the area to keep track of Pope Francis’ whereabouts.
Back in April, the Mexican government issued a pamphlet advising citizens not to fly drones more than 400 feet up in the air in order to ensure that the device was within the owner’s sight. Governments across the country are contriving ways to regulate drones. At present, however, it might take Colombian legislators over a year to pass their own.