No wires, no laws, no limits: How a flying drone network could liberate the Internet from above

Use for UAS that regulators never thought of continue to pop up. The practicalities of actually keeping platforms in the air long enough to be useful seem to be being ignored over the sex appeal of multicopters. Multicopters are super simple to build and fly hence their popularity. Once they start finding out that fixed wing platforms can lift more for longer, then we might see something interesting. The WASP  was a good example of that.

Open source autonomous thermal soaring will become mainstream this summer. Flying a 3 or 4 metre wingspan with perhaps a 1 kg payload for six or seven hours at 10,000′ would make all the difference to these plans. If these groups would have the skill sets and organisation required to fly large platforms for long durations is another matter.

In the UK there are rules in place that allow the CAA to prosecute unlicensed activity if they choose. The USA is slightly different, but again this use would fall outside of AMA guidelines for hobby flight so would have to conform with FAA non hobby guidelines.

Will the privacy advocates have something to say about this? Its unlikely that people will just be spreading love if they start flying UAS with wifi sniffing equipment onboard.

Of all the sensational articles published this is the best to date and hence the first one that we have chosen to promulgate.


Flying server drones hovering outside the reach of Earth-bound authorities could prevent well-intentioned laws – and even dictators – from strangling the Internet.

Internet pirates have a problem. As the shutdown of MegaUpload, rise of legislation like SOPA, and even new “six strikes” rules have all demonstrated, authorities are cracking down on illegal file sharing.

When The Pirate Bay recentled announced its plans to build GPS-controlled server drones, the torrent community was enlivened with excitement. It was a novel, futuristic and all-around badass concept. Imagine server drones whizzing overhead, actively eluding the detection of law enforcement officials. As officials are scrambling to take down these flying servers, nearby users will be sharing files without apprehension. The days of file sharers receiving threatening emails or having their connections throttled by ISPs would be just a fleeting memory. It sounded too good to be true, and not surprisingly, skeptics expressed their doubts. The Pirate Bay does, after all, throw around great ideas that aren’t being built.

But server drones aren’t science fiction — they already exist. The website Torrent Freak was quick to point out that a London-based thinktank has been cracking on the problem for some time. In fact, the group was months ahead in the game and had already tested artistic (yet fully functional) prototypes for a media-arts festival in the Netherlands.

We dug deeper to find out more about the promise of flying server drones, the complications, and how far they might be from spreader further.

Mike Clark