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Drones are dropping drugs into prisons and the US govt just doesn't know what to do

Uncle Sam needs your help

By Shaun Nichols, 6 Nov 2015

The US Federal Bureau of Prisons has appealed for help in stopping contraband-laden drones from flying over prison grounds.

The bureaucrats insist they're not after formal proposals nor price quotes. Instead, they want to hear your suggestions for the best ways to stop people from using quadcopters to smuggle items in and out of prisons. The bureau noted it would not be able to fund research into proposed systems not yet built.

"The goal of this RFI is to collect information to identify and assess the landscape of technologies and systems that can assist in the Bureau's mission by countering, mitigating, and/or interdicting the impact and possible nefarious intent of unmanned aerial systems (UAS)," the posting reads.

Drones are an increasingly concern for prisons in the US and Europe. Earlier this year, an attempt to use a drone craft to drop a package filled with drugs inside an Ohio prison's exercise yard sparked a prisoner brawl. Another drone delivery of contraband was spotted in Britain last May, and similar schemes have been attempted in Ireland and Australia as well.

Such incidents are only likely to increase in the coming months as drone technology becomes more affordable and easier to master. The growth of cheap and easy-to-fly drones has posed a problem not just for prisons, but also for the FAA as it grapples with how to track and enforce laws on the new breed of self-flying craft. ®

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