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Flying Into Uncontrollable Regulatory Trouble

Matt Kelly | August 10, 2015

I have an unmanned drone in my office. How the drone came to be there is a story for another day. The drone’s mere existence is our story for this week, since drones are coming to symbolize the difficulty, nuance, and sheer inanity of today’s regulatory challenges. Get used to it.

An acquaintance walked into my office last week and saw the drone. “You know,” he said, “I was standing in front of my apartment last week and saw some guy with an unmanned drone. It was more sophisticated than yours, with a camera and controls on his iPad and a display to stream the camera’s images. We watched as he flew the camera up a few hundred feet, right over Massachusetts General Hospital. Really cool.”

My colleague merely wanted to talk about unmanned drones as a hobby, and like he said, they are indeed really cool. But let’s flash back to torts class in first-year law school and start playing out the preposterous trouble unmanned drones can cause—because eventually they will...

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