Penetrating the veil of security in Russia is a feat rarely accomplished by even the greatest spymasters, but one lone photographer equipped with a drone managed to do just that.
New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple posted an aerial image of the Kremlin, Moscow’s closely guarded seat of power and official residence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, to Reddit on Friday. The photo was later removed from the news-sharing site, but as of this writing, remains posted to Chapple’s Facebook page, where it was first shared on Nov. 5.
“It was a commissioned shot (from a Russian company), but they made it clear I was on my own if I got caught,” Chapple wrote on Reddit. “Permissions for this kind of thing would be impossible now.”
“[The publisher] considered applying for permission, but told me it would probably be impossible so I went ahead without,” he told Australia’s News.com.au.
Russia requires users of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to obtain prior permission from the country’s Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) to fly drones, or risk being slapped with stiff monetary fines, according to one report. So far, no investigation into Chapple’s photo has been launched by authorities.
“I wasn’t counting on being caught,” he wrote on Reddit. “This involved a lot of planning, and succeeded with a bit of luck.”
The FAA has appealed the decision which stays the decision. That means legally, things stay the same as before the decision until the National Technology Safety Board makes a decision..
— original post 3/6/14 —-
National Transportation Safety Board Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty decided a case (pdf) on Thursday concluding the FAA had no basis for the commercial drone ban because there were no formal laws to that effect. The case of Pirker v. Huerta, involved Swiss drone pilot who filmed a commercial in Virginia and was fined $10,000 by the FAA. The pilot was the only person the FAA has fined and Pirker fought back. The judge dismissed the FAA’s fine.
Exactly what this decision means, that is if in fact it’s now a free for all on commercial drones, is not exactly clear. The FAA has yet to comment on the decision. Any appeal would go the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Interestingly, just today the Wall Street Journal suggested the FAA was looking to find solutions to open the skies on a case by case basis.
Imagine an energy company which manages a pipeline through Canada’s taiga. The company’s charged with maintaining that pipeline, with making sure it isn’t leaking and hasn’t been compromised. So, every day, the company pays a local to get in a plane and fly over the otherwise inert, massive metal…