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Drone used for Extortion

Drone used for Extortion 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Thursday morning Susan Parker glanced out of her window at 1522 Main Street in Springfield and saw a bird fly by her kitchen window while she was making coffee. Twice out of the corner of her eye the bird flew by so fast she couldn’t tell what kind of bird it was. She went about the rest of her morning and left for the News station where she was an evening weather anchor, her husband Kevin having left two hours before.

When Susan got home later that evening she sat down at her desk and checked her email. In an email attachment was a photograph of her naked, standing in her bathroom door having just taken a shower. The email was from an anonymous email address and the words on the screen said:

“Bring $5000.00 in unmarked bills in the hand bag near your closet to the Central Bus station and leave it under the first bench by the door. If you do not, this and several other photos of you will be transmitted to all social media by 9 p.m. tonight.”

After searching around, Susan found the bag mentioned in the email, it was her black handbag she had used about a week ago. How did they know about the bag and how did they take photos of me? She wondered. She searched the house and found no cameras or forced entry.



DroneHow did the criminal get photos of her? He used a drone that he had purchased at his local mobile phone store. It has the ability for him to use his mobile phone to control the drone remotely and has an HD video camera built into it. It is controlled over WiFi. He had brought a mobile WiFi hot spot with him to host it. He was able to get high quality photos and snoop in through the window without ever entering her home.

Did this all really happen? No, at least not to my knowledge. But it raises to question of how appropriate it is that such tools/toys are out there in the retail world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a geek and would love to test one of these bad boys out. However it seems logical to me that there should also be some sort of regulation, licensing, etc. to control who has the ability to buy such devices that have the potential for not only privacy invasion, but also covert surveillance such as this or scoping out a home prior to a break in. Although there are many other situations that are  regulated that never stop criminals from doing what they do. Just because it’s against the law, doesn’t mean it will prevent people from doing it. Is it just the age we live in?

What say you?

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