Greenpeace Banned From Flying Drones Near Arctic Oil Rigs

What about the freedom to assemble robots?

Shell Oil Rig With Kayaking Protesters

Shell Oil Rig With Kayaking Protesters

Backbone Campaign, via Wikimedia Common CC BY 2.0

When Shell starts drilling in the Arctic this summer, they will do so free of harassment from robots, thanks to an injunction by an Alaskan district court. Greenpeace, which in April protested the opening of Shell's Polar Pioneer oil rig by boarding its carrier ship, are now legally banned from the area surrounding the company's Arctic rigs. The ban applies not just to human protesters, but to any unmanned vehicles they may bring along.

Greenpeace USA shall not operate any drones anywhere within the Burger Prospect in the Chukchi Sea from June 25, 2015 through October 31, 2015, except as established by Order of the Court upon motion that includes a proposed plan for such drone use by Greenpeace USA and after each party has been accorded an opportunity to be heard regarding such proposed plan.

The injunction is a response to a complaint filed by Shell, which alleged that having vessels, drones, helicopters, or people with "unpredictable motives and intentions" near their drilling operations posed a risk to "safety, property, and the environment."

This isn't the first time Greenpeace has found its drone use on the wrong side of the law. In July 2014, Indian police raided Greenpeace offices in a village located within the Singrauli district, finding a drone with a high-definition camera. The drone was likely flown without legal permission from India's Ministry of Defence.