Chilean protestors are borrowing a page from the Hong Kong playbook.


In response to rising public transit costs, Chileans have taken to the streets in ongoing protests that have now evolved to encompass broader concerns about inequality — and they're using high-tech tricks to push police back.

Particularly, a police drone was disabled and fell to the ground after hundreds of protestors aimed their laser pointers at it, according to NextGov. The impromptu light show, captured on video, provides a poignant illustration of an on-going, futuristic arms race.


The Chileans aren't the first protestors to disable police tech with lasers: the Hong Kong protests used lasers to shut down surveillance cameras equipped with facial recognition tech. Nor are they the first to use lasers to disable drones — it's an increasingly-common military technique, though those lasers are more powerful.

In this case, the lasers probably didn't burn through the drone as a military laser cannon might. Rather, NextGov reports that the lasers likely blinded either a human pilot's camera feed or interfered with the drone's built-in altitude sensors and forced an emergency descent.


Christopher Williams, the CEO of the military tech contractor Citadel Defense Company, pushes back against the idea that laser pointers will become a common anti-surveillance tool.

"There are many other technologies that are less disruptive that provide a superior, more scalable, more reliable and more cost-effective countermeasure," he told NextGov.

However, it's not clear which of those technologies could become as ubiquitous for protestors on the street as a consumer laser pointer.

READ MORE: How Chilean Protesters Took Down a Drone With Standard Laser Pointers [NextGov]

More on drone lasers: The Military Is Mounting Laser Weapons on Tanks

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