College student arrested for flying drone over football game

Getty Images

A student at the University of Texas has been arrested for allegedly flying an unauthorized drone over the school's football game on Saturday, an Austin television station is reporting.

Austin TV station KXAN said the student was arrested by university police officers during the second half of the school's first home football game.

The University of Texas Police Department said "the drone was seized, the student identified, questioned and released pending further investigation," according to the report.

ADVERTISEMENT
"UTPD observed an unauthorized drone in and around the Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium and watched as it maneuvered and landed on San Jacinto," the university police officers said in a statement that was provided to the television station. 

"Officers located the operator, a UT student, who was detained and transported to the police station," the statement continued. "Our top priority is the safety our students, employees, fans and visitors. UTPD Chief David Carter stresses that we are concerned about the use of drones and are investigating the incident thoroughly. The university continually works with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to maintain the highest levels of safety on our campus.”

The use of drones at sporting events has emerged as a hot topic as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests the possibility of allowing increased use of the unmanned aerial vehicles.

The agency has said that it is investigating a drone that allegedly flew over an National Football League (NFL) preseason game in Charlotte last week.

The FAA also took issue with the Washington Nationals baseball team using drones to photograph some of its spring training games in Viera, Fla., earlier this year. The team voluntarily stopped using the drone, but the FAA said at the time that it was in violation of federal rules.  

Federal regulations currently prohibit most non-military drones from being used, but Congress has mandated that the agency issue a ruling on the safety of drones sharing airspace in the U.S. with other types of airplanes by 2015.

The FAA is facing pressure to quickly approve the increased use of drones because online companies such as Amazon and Google have said they can be used to make faster deliveries.

The technology is also being sought by police and other law enforcement officials.

Critics have raised concerns about the potential for increased surveillance if drone use is expanded in the U.S. without privacy protections firmly in place.