Future Tense

Don’t Drink and Drone

Ain’t no party like a quadcopter party.

Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

This is why you don’t drink and drive, people. An employee at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency told the Secret Service that he was responsible for the unidentified drone discovered on White House grounds early Monday morning. The man told investigators that he was drinking at an apartment near the White House before the 2-pound, 2-foot diameter quadcopter he was operating disappeared.

The New York Times reports that the man decided to go to bed, even though he thought the drone might have flown over the White House. He knew it was somewhere out in the wide world, but after a night of drinking, a body gets sleepy, you know?

The incident is relevant to an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of Secret Service security at the White House. It also provides commentary, though, on the increasingly widespread availability of small retail drones and the corresponding concerns that not enough has been done to regulate their use. Obama told CNN on Tuesday, “These technologies that we’re developing have the capacity to empower individuals in ways that we couldn’t even imagine 10-15 years ago.” But he added, “We don’t really have any kind of regulatory structure at all for it.” The man makes a good point.