File Sharing Drones Proof Of Concept Already Built

from the fly-drone-fly dept

There was a fair bit of discussion recently about the story of The Pirate Bay exploring using drones to build a flying file sharing system -- with many insisting that such a thing was a completely ridiculous-to-impossible notion. They might want to think again. It seems that a proof of concept had already been built by a different group, who had no idea that TPB was considering this idea. Liam Young from Tomorrow's Thoughts Today already built what's basically an implementation of the what the Pirate Bay described, which you can see below:
Of course, the key here is that these are just setting up a drone-based local-area network, rather than one connected to the wider internet, but that's easy enough to add at some point (especially as wireless technology improves). There's still a long way to go towards a full-scale system such as what the Pirate Bay guys envision, but the technology itself isn't that far fetched.


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  1.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:33am

    Two thoughts

    1. Prior art. So unless that patent application is already filed, no one should be able to wn this idea.

    2. I'd trademark the name Misquito for this project.

     

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  2.  
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    ActionScripter9109, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:45am

    The future

    We're looking at it. This kind of thing will only get easier to make, and soon internet freedom advocates will fight in the shade.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:45am

    international waters, where they can easily be shot down by the anti-'piracy'-drones the mafiaa will build.

     

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  4.  
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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Me too

    You can TM Misquito as long as I get to TM Mosquito. :)

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:53am

    This should not be taken as a substitute for good old fashion protesting.

    The FAA - Government-industrial complex can shoot those things down in seconds (and they have taxpayer resources to do it), while those things cost money for people to create, not to mention they can impose huge liabilities on anyone caught using or delivering these devices which can be a huge deterrence to their spread.

    Bad laws need to be repealed, not simply worked around. Otherwise, you have a situation like China or Russia.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:56am

    How is this ((Mis)Uses of Technology)?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Not sure why they bother with drones....

    If you can do this...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4xNcF6T7Is

    Why are they even bothering with drones. Why not just go for placing a ton of small satellites into orbit?

     

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  8.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    Agreed on all points except one. If they are in international waters and are shot down TPB has a chance to get back at them with a huge lawsuit.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Go, Pirates, Go! Yeah, Piracy!!

    Right, Mike?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Re:

    More like

    Go, Freedom Advocates and Innovators, Go!

     

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  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Stive, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:17am

    great post and creative ideas. I am happy to visit and read useful articles here. I hope you continue to do the sharing through the post to the reader. and good luck for the visitors site thanx alot

     

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  12.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    If by pirates you mean free transfer of information blocked by oppressive governments, then yes. GO PIRATES!!!

    I know how you guys just hate people being able to communicate freely on a mass scale.

    This has nothing to do with piracy, and everything to do with the citizenry being able to communicate.

    Nice try though.

    I know I know AC but but but... piracy... for the children blah blah blah.

     

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  13.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re:

    If they are in international waters and they get attacked isn't that the definition of pirates...

     

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  14.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I am smiling ear to ear. For years the MPAA and RIAA have been accusing people of piracy. Soon we will be able to accuse them of the same thing. IRONY!

     

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  15.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Not sure why they bother with drones....

    I agree with the why bother with drones, but more so in the fact that flying is far more inefficient and harder to implement than a waterproof lifeboat with a gps and solar powered motor.

    I choose lifeboat because they are designed to auto-right themselves when blown over by a large wave. They will use way less power to use them and potentially could harness enough power via solar panels mounted to the boat to stay out there indefinitely.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Not sure why they bother with drones....

    The advantage of aerial devices over boats is that boats don't have the height advantage the antenna over ground level obstacles.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    Oh yeah. I forgot. The people took the term "Pirates" back so yeah I guess...

    Go, Pirates, Go!

     

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  18.  
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    Beta (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:21am

    foreseeable consequences

    Drones are getting smaller, cheaper and smarter. In time they'll become enough of a nuisance that anti-drone measures will become commonplace (and an ineffectual tracery of law may form around them, too).

    Near-earth orbit is an even more pollutible region than urban airspace. Orbital debris is already an enormous pain; a paint flake or a machine screw travelling at orbital velocity can do serious damage to a delicate instrument (like say, a satellite), debris can stay up for a long time, and collisions just create more debris. A long-term solution will be tricky, but suffice to say a hacker group that tried to inject thousands of microsatellites into orbit without permission would make itself seriously unpopular.

    I like the idea of a covert network riding legitimate hardware. Most the smartphones in a city working together could form a pretty nice one. And it could be made deniable too: a smartphone worm could create such a network, so any particular person with a file-sharing phone could plausibly be completely innocent and unaware of what was going on-- and this would be true even if no such worm had ever actually made the rounds.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re:

    "If they are in international waters and are shot down TPB has a chance to get back at them with a huge lawsuit."

    Laws governing international waters can easily be changed by various governments willing to do so at the control of various pro-IP interests.

    The reason no anti-drone laws of this nature cover International waters yet is simply because drones that can be used to infringe, and hence impede on various government granted monopoly privileges, hadn't existed before. If this does manage to circumvent various government established monopoly privileges, trust me, laws governing international waters will change and governments will find a way to legally stop these things with impunity.

    None of this will stop piracy, of course, it can't, but it will impede political communication and it will impede competition against government established monopoly communication channels, artificially raising the price of communication in general.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "...way to legally stop these things with impunity, unless we stop it (ie:via protesting) of course."

     

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  21.  
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    Michael Long (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re:

    Because so many of us are sitting around 12 miles offshore waiting to download the latest episode of Thrones. Besides, even if you could provide some sort of proof, the US would just shrug and say it was protecting its national security interests.

    Heck, just track the silly things and seize them on the ground.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: foreseeable consequences

    "Near-earth orbit is an even more pollutible region than urban airspace. Orbital debris is already an enormous pain; a paint flake or a machine screw travelling at orbital velocity can do serious damage to a delicate instrument (like say, a satellite), debris can stay up for a long time, and collisions just create more debris. A long-term solution will be tricky, but suffice to say a hacker group that tried to inject thousands of microsatellites into orbit without permission would make itself seriously unpopular."

    1. There is A LOT of space to be occupied before collisions become a frequent occurrence. This is even increased by the fact that there are multiple levels of orbit that can be utilized before it becomes a serious problem.

    2. So develop the micro-satellites to be encased to deploy a soft exterior or better yet maybe you could use reverse electro-magnetism that could be triggered by a proximity sensor and repel other objects so that they don't collide with them.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:48am

    Re: Re:

    You just can't get enough coverage from international waters to make it work out. How far is it from Toledo Ohio to international waters? Do you honestly think you can get a high speed wireless network to do that, that is cheap enough, and is using legal bandwidth?

    Sorry, the whole idea is a non-starter, and amusing sideline that shows only what people will do to steal content - how desperate they must be!

     

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  24.  
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    BigKeithO (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes... that is what this shows, how desperate people are. Yet again an Anonymous Coward shows us the way.

     

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  25.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Re:

    Thereby making MAFIAA true (by international legal definition) pirates, subject to legal physical retaliation.

    BRING IT ON!

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re:

    If designed properly (read: inexpensively) they won't have to get them back. They just keep making more of them.

     

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  27.  
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    Beta (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    Yeah, I remember when I used to love comic books. In a way I still do.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's not the point. The point is that you put a search engine and torrent hosts in a cluster in international waters where it can't be seized and you have multiple working together so that if a few that you can't take the entire thing out by taking down a couple of them but only one of them has to have a connection to a single node on the Internet for people to be able to get to it but it has multiple points of failure which all have to be taken out in order to stop it. And it's movable. The plan isn't to have just a couple of these running around. They are thinking on a scale that would be difficult to stop.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Not sure why they bother with drones....

    It is more than a simple height advantage over obstacles.

    Fresnel zone.

     

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  30.  
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    Blatant Coward (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Go Lemmings Go!

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    This isn't that far fetched actually and shouldn't be too terribly expensive to deploy on a pretty large scale. Think about how many Raspberry Pi's you could cluster and MicroSD cards you could use for file storage, then add a transmitter/receiver. Develop a relay system between them to network them and a request and response protocol.

    All someone would need to do then is have the right instructions to on how to mod a SatTV dish to access the network and Bingo Bango... On Demand file server network available to anyone that wanted to access it. Doesn't even have to be connected to the Internet at all.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You keep forgetting - they need connectivity. Clearly anything working that hard to hide offshore is illegal, and won't be able to easily get internet connectivity without lying, or deception, or other means to mislead providers.

    The thing has to connect somewhere, and that is the point where it will fail - EVERY TIME.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    My point was the problems you suggest are not that difficult to overcome. Ok maybe the electro-magnetism thing might be a little difficult to do but it's not hard to wrap something in a thick layer of soft foam. And the technology to do this sort of thing is cheap it's likely to happen and will be difficult to stop.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You WANT people to be lemmings and because of apathy they may have been in the past. But they were awakened on January 18th and are pissed. They are not going back to sleep as much as you want to believe it to be true.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There are plenty of providers world-wide that simply don't care.

     

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  36.  
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    ComputerAddict (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    "International waters" doesn't mean it is lawless. These drones would still be under the jurisdiction from which they were launched. If they choose not to specify a jurisdiction for the aircraft (i.e. unregistered Aircraft) they may, and probably will fall under 'universal jurisdiction' where multiple countries can claim jurisdiction for crimes committed by the craft. Meaning instead of choosing a country with liberal laws to host from, the MAFIAA gets to pick a country with the most conservative copyright/trademark laws and use them to go after the drones.. Talk about slam dunk for the MAFIAA.

    I have to say this story is a great attention grab, but really just a gimmick, unless TPB didn't do a google search for "International Waters" because the second result talks about whether they are 'lawless' and "international waters for planes" the fourth result talks specifically about flying craft. So either no one at the TPB did the search, which is kinda hard to believe... or its a hoax.

    "As a general rule, ships sailing in international waters are under the jurisdiction of the state or nation to which the vessel is registered. The same applies to planes flying in international airspace.

    This means that the laws of the county to which the ship or plane is registered will apply while in transit in international waters or airspace"

    http://www.findlaw.co.uk/law/government/other_law_and_government_topics/500439.html

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not sure why they bother with drones....

    Of course, I was merely pointing out the most obvious advantage. There of course are others.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 11:27am

    I'm stealing this from someone else on the internet, but it's just too good not to share.

    Imagine the first time one of the TPB drones collides with a commercial passenger flight. Here's the headline in the NY Times:

    Criminal Pirate Aircraft Collides with Jetliner - Pirate craft creating hazards for air transportation industry...


    Aaaannd here's the headline here at Techdirt:

    Commercial Jetliner Downs Pirate Bay Server - A consortium of interests including the RIAA, MPAA, and government agencies hijack a jet aircraft to wage Al-Qaida style attack on the Pirate Bay! 253 people dead...


    You guys and you're fantasies... you never cease to amaze.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    Drones flying at low altitude in international airspace are a hazard for commercial air transportation that flies at altitudes of thousands of meters?

    Interesting...

    There is also the fact that flight routes are pretty much standard and well known. If "pirates" manage to solve the engineering problems of putting a drone in the air in international waters for long enough to be useful (and keep it there) I think they won't have any problem in avoiding known flight routes.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re:

    1. Airliners operate at an altitude FAR above these sorts of drones except when taking off and landing. How many commercial airports can you name in International Waters?

    2. Commercial airliners also have long range radar and are directed by air traffic controllers with long range radar which would spot the drones long before they had a chance to collide.

    So it appears you are the one with the fantasies.

     

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  41.  
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    egghead (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Me too

    I'd rather trademark DDoSquito! Imagine the chaos a swarm of DDoSquitos could bring upon the world!

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    I always interpreted the category title to mean "Uses AND Misuses..."

     

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  43.  
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    Beta (profile), Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    It's reverse electro-magnetism! And it involves magnetic (reverse magnetic?) fields that must be in the, what, Megatesla? (Reverse Megatesla?) And it works on non-ferrous debris. Why, that's no problem at all, I'll bet Tony Stark could build this in a cave! With a box of scraps!

    I also like your idea of "a thick layer of soft foam". Are you perchance thinking of six inches of foam rubber? People have actually been working on this problem for a while.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    LOL

    What I was talking about is controlling the polarity of an electro-magnet to repel instead of attract an object in much the same way natural magnets repel each other when the polarity is reversed on one of them.

     

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  45.  
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    TDR, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:16pm

    In regards to these drones, I'll just paraphrase an old Jay Leno Dorito's commercial for the shills here:

    "Shoot all you want. We'll make more!"

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    And the problem they are working is much harder because the objects they are worried about colliding with each other are much larger in scale than what I'm talking about. Who knows? It might be as simple as adding a six inch layer of some sort of foam rubber for these to not be a threat to other objects. I still say they likely would like operate at a lower altitude than the ones that are currently there such that they would likely not be an issue either.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 3:23pm

    Under the radar

    One of the things that make this project possible is that it's hard for legacy industries that still can't imagine how the internet works, isn't likely to take this seriously. This idea is so far outside their little box of "pipes" or "tubes" or whatever solid modeling concept that it could develop very quickly.

    There really are quite a few examples of people working on very similar projects for a variety of reasons. TPB going to magnets freed them up immensly. That was probably step one.

    Here's another example: http://server-sky.com/

     

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  48.  
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    Free Citizen, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 6:18pm

    Get Stuffed

    You just can't get enough coverage from international waters to make it work out.

    It would work out fine. Get off your sorry fat ass and move if you're too far away, you spoiled lazy lump.

    How far is it from Toledo Ohio to international waters?

    Who gives a shit? This is for the Free World, not the Dying Police States of Fascism.

    I know its hard for you to believe, but the world does not revolve around your sorry dumb asses.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 6:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Correct. All they have to do is set up their server in some jurisdiction with no extradition treaty with the USA, plus law enforcement that is of the opinion that it has better things to do, and they are good. Those countries that are hosting USA-directed gambling servers would be a good choice.

    The Pirate Bay is engaged in a publicity stunt. They do not actually need to use drones.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They could simply use North Korea.

    "Hey guys, we have a website that pisses the americans off, let us have a tiny bit of space and ignore us, and you get to enjoy their rage face."

    Not only will any action taken then will result in war, it will result in NUCLEAR war.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Forget international waters. If you're in Toledo with me, Canada's less than an hour away.

     

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  52.  
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    Joe, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Haha, yes, irony! What do we do to (real, not counterfeiter) pirates? Yeah, this will end well!

     

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  53.  
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    Joe, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think you understand how this would work. They would have a range in the 10's of kilometers. They would not need a specific, easy-to-pinpoint control system. They would be extremely easy to destroy with a powerful microwave beam and deniable as well.

    Irony: Destroying them would be an act of international piracy and terrorism, by the definitions most people use. ;)

     

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  54.  
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    Joe, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:40am

    Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    You must have been boring in an engineering or physics class. ;)

    And comic book physics this isn't. People didn't just pull that out of their rear like Star Wars' Death Star. Ferromagnetism is just one kind. You can use magnetic fields to repel metals as well as attract. And yeah, even a 'soft' exterior would be a disaster if it hit a solar panel.

     

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  55.  
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    The Moondoggie, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 2:21am

    Re: Go Pirates

    A whole lot better than, "Go Texas" or "Go Lamar Smith" or "Go RIAA" or "Go MPAA" or "Go Legal Sh1t" IMO.

    Pirate4ever.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    My point was not that these were necessarily THE solutions to these problems but rather were examples of concepts that COULD be explored and possibly used to solve those sorts of problems making this sort of thing a realistic possibility.

     

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  57.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    As I recall the last time someone opened up a "law of the sea" debate to update and reform maritime law it took close to a decade to make much in the way of progress on it and some of the work remains incomplete to this day. Even the limits on territorial waters are unfinished which leads to the amusing situation of countries only able to claim a 200 (not 12) mile limit but a much broader economic zone which is often used for fisheries enforcement.

    I'm not all that sure they'd have a hard time finding a state more friendly to their cause and business to act as a land station either. That being the case if State A opens fire on TPB's drones which are registered in State B; State B can consider this an act of war no matter what State A's excuses are. Hardly impunity.

    And a precedent has been set. While pirate radio clearly broke the UK's right to regulate the public airwaves (grant a monopoly on spectrum) the Royal Navy never, to the best of my knowledge, never seized or sunk a pirate radio ship operating in international waters. So there is no need to change maritime law as this has already been settled by that example. At least as far as these things ever do get settled.

     

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  58.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 1:53pm

    Re:

    I have no idea why this got flagged because I don't see a thing there that's even mildy offensive. Unless the trolls thought it was so or unless this guy's a well known troll whose nick has escaped me for the moment.

     

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  59.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    It is spam. Look at the url in the poster name.

     

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  60.  
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    monkyyy, Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re:

    "piracy for the children"
    i am monkyyy and i approve of this message

     

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  61.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 10:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Finally! an excuse to employ naval artillery.

    someone was talking about funding a carrier... how about a battleship? Much harder to kill (pure ability to take damage and keep functioning, not more damage resistant) and pretty much perfect of C&C work. much cheaper to maintain it's guns than the planes on a carrier, too.

    (well, sadly there's the downside of carriers being able to kill 'em, but that's what Light carriers are for: dedicated interception duty. much cheaper than a standard carrier.)

    that said, what you probably Actually want is a stealth cruiser.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    or they can take it as an act of piracy and smash up the ship responsible Without starting a full scale war, no?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
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    Chargone (profile), Mar 23rd, 2012 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: foreseeable consequences

    that requires the target object to also be magnetic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    TtfnJohn (profile), Mar 24th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yoiks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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