BYTE ME: Don't get into trouble with technology

DRONE DANGER: The Mini Ripper drone is being trialled at Tweed Coast beaches as lifesavers search for way to improve safety for swimmers. Bruce Kerr warns about knowing laws around use of drones.
DRONE DANGER: The Mini Ripper drone is being trialled at Tweed Coast beaches as lifesavers search for way to improve safety for swimmers. Bruce Kerr warns about knowing laws around use of drones. Contributed

Don't let technology get you into trouble.

With all of the leaps forward in technology there are an increasing number of things that you should not do.

A few weeks ago some bright spark in Victoria decided that it would be cool to send his drone to the local Bunnings to pick up a sausage instead of driving or walking there.

A drone is a battery powered hybrid cross between a model helicopter and model plane which can be remote controlled.

They are large enough to carry a small video camera which can send signal back to the operator as well as apparently being large enough to carry a sausage.

So this device was sent with $10 and a note asking for a bread wrapped sausage and it did return with the goods.

The pilot, who happened to be sitting in an outdoor spa bath the whole time, also captured the video from the drone and uploaded it to YouTube.

It since appears that people from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority were also among the interested YouTube viewers and they took a rather dim view of the entire exercise.

To get to its flavoursome destination and back the drone had to fly over a major highway, a housing estate and hover in a busy public car park at Bunnings while the request was fulfilled.

These drones can run out of battery, they can crash due to high winds, mechanical malfunction or lack of range of the controller signal or in this case even lack of range of the attached video device.

An accident could have also easily occurred through simple pilot error as there are no training requirements whatsoever currently for drone owners.

CASA had to jump all over this one and the man in question is currently facing fines that total as much as $9000.

There are some very logical rules for the operation of drones.

In fact, with internet ordering and also ordering direct from overseas, consumers need to be careful with local, state and commonwealth laws they are not committing a breach.

There are many goods that are available overseas which are not legal in Australia - such as certain types of knifes, fireworks, laser devices, or swords.

Where previously a shopkeeper had to be confident about the goods he sold, now the onus is on the end user to do their research before purchase.

The same applies simply to the downloading of music, movies or cracked software.

If it is free be sceptical as to whether it's legal - so don't get caught trying to avoid paying for these items which normally incur a fee.

As for what you do with your drone - please cross the Bunnings sausage off the list.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to

Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

Topics:  byte me drone laws opinion technology

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