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Now, anyone can buy a drone!

Now, anyone can buy a drone!
But now drones — the unmanned flying vehicles the size of a pizza box — are also a favorite tool for more unruly groups: pranksters and troublemakers.

As the price of drones has fallen and sales have risen, the machines have emerged as central characters in stunts from the puckish to the criminal. In recent months, drone pilots have tried to smuggle contraband into prisons and disrupt sporting events at stadiums. Animal rights groups have turned to drones to stalk hunters as the hunters stalk wildlife. And in France, more than a dozen illegal flights over nuclear power plants have unnerved the authorities.

The antics are forcing public safety officials to look at the air above them, generally thought safe and secure, as a place for potential trouble. And for groups pushing drones as legitimate business tools, the high jinks are an unexpected and unwelcome headache — one, they fear, that will bolster a push by regulators to keep a tight leash on the machines.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said that drones raise safety concerns, like running into people and planes. On Wednesday, the agency said it receives about 25 reports a month of drones operating near manned aircraft. The agency is expected to propose new rules for commercial use as early as next month. “It’s now in the hands of all types of people good people, bad people, tricksters, pranksters, kids,” said Patrick Egan, a consultant on commercial drone projects and editor of a drone news site.
Agencies

Agencies

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