Feeds

Aussie gov to treat laser pointers like knives and guns

Red for show, green for a pro?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

An Australian regional government has moved to crack down on laser pointers following widely-reported incidents in which the devices have been used to distract and dazzle pilots on commercial flights.

New South Wales (NSW) will class the most powerful types of pointer as if they were firearms, with sentences of up to 14 years for those carrying such devices without a permit.

"It only takes a fraction of a second for a pilot to become temporarily blinded and that could have catastrophic consequences," said NSW premier Morris Iemma, quoted by Reuters.

"It is a gutless and cowardly act that could result in an horrific outcome."

A green laser pointer was reportedly trained on an ambulance helicopter over southern Sydney at the weekend, following earlier incidents in which airliners had to be rerouted by air traffic control due to dazzling.

Green laser pointers are available with higher output power than the ordinary red lasers typically used in presentations and so forth. It is the longer-ranging green devices which are seen as the main problem for aviation, and will henceforth require a permit to be carried.

Legitimate uses for the green lasers include the pointing out of stars at night using the brighter and more visible beam. They are also sometimes used by architects and other professionals.

Less-powerful red lasers will seemingly be treated more like knives than guns. Those found carrying ordinary red-beam devices without a valid reason - such as being a teacher - won't suffer long jail terms, but might be fined up to (AUS) $5,000, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Laser harassment of aircraft is far from being a uniquely Australian problem - there have been widely reported cases elsewhere, especially in America.

The NSW measures follow similar plans in the less-populous state of Western Australia, and federal import restrictions on the more powerful devices. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.