Every week on Future Tense, we highlight a talk from Drone U in which a leading thinker speaks about what our drone future may look like. Drone U is produced in cooperation with the New America Foundation. (Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State University.)
This week, Drone U features a podcast from Donna Dulo, a senior mathematician, computer scientist, and systems engineer for the United States Department of Defense.
Dulo catalogs the numerous legal issues that arise from drone use but ties them to a central problem: controlling and securing data. Drones should not be thought of as a single flying entity, she reminds us: They are in fact “a system of systems” including the actual machine, the GPS receiver, communications infrastructure, and personnel. All of these components must be secured against threats like malware and spoofing—no small task, especially given that methods to hack drones are already available.