In Defense Of Drones

July 9, 2017
In Defense Of Drones

New technologies have a way of stirring both fascination and fear in people, and drones are no exception. The fascination is evident in the growing popularity of drones; the fear is obvious in the occasionally sensational news coverage.

The latest example of bad press came Friday when South Carolina prison officials implicated an unidentified drone in an inmate’s escape without providing any evidence to support the claim. The rush to judgment raised the ire of a drone industry advocate with DJI, who took his grievances to Twitter.

Many of the headlines did not equivocate, stating clearly that the inmate used a drone. But the actual story told a different story [emphasis added]: “‘We believe a drone was used to fly in the tools that allowed him to escape,’ South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said. He said investigators were still trying to confirm that, and he didn’t elaborate on why they believe a drone was involved.”

Drones certainly could have been involved in the escape. As the story also noted, “Drones have been used to deliver contraband such as drugs and cellphones to prisons across the U.S., including two cases in recent years from South Carolina.”

But the rush to judgment without actual evidence raised the ire of at least one drone industry advocate. Brendan Schulman, the vice president of policy and legal affairs at drone manufacturer DJI, took his grievances online.

Read our Storify compilation of his tweets.