Drones banned at SXSW

Shooting an intern with a drone-mounted taser is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Well, actually no one got hurt last year during Chaotic Moon’s infamous drone stunt, but SXSW 2015 is officially cracking down on man’s best unmanned aerial friend anyway.

According to a blog post that went up today on the official homepage of SXSW Interactive:

… the airwaves and/or frequency spectrums generally used in the remote control of drones are too congested during the SXSW event to ensure operation safe from interference.

The Austin Police Department will also be watching for drones in crowded and/or public areas where the drones could pose a risk to public safety. Drones flown in the City of Austin are subject to seizure by the Austin Police Department and the operators are subject to fines and/or arrest.

In addressing the potential risk of drones to the public safety of so many drunk SXSW-goers, the prohibition cites City of Austin Ordinance chapter 13-1, which appears to place a cap on the number of “temporary helistops” a heli-thing thing (presumably usually a helicopter) can make and with what licensure.

SXSW indicates that it may still make exceptions for drones tethered to the ground and within special demo areas. You can take our drones, but you can’t break our spirit.

Photo via Bart Everson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman 

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker

Taylor Hatmaker has reported on the tech industry for nearly a decade, covering privacy and government. Most recently, she was the Debug editor of the Daily Dot. Prior to that, she was a staff writer and deputy editor at ReadWrite, a tech and business reporter for Yahoo News, and the senior editor of Tecca. Her editorial interests include censorship, digital activism, LGBTQ issues, and futurist consumer tech.