High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

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High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby ZeroSum » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

Once again few ruin it for many.
High-powered hand lasers, including so-called "star pointers" used by astronomers, would be listed as prohibited weapons in New South Wales state with jail terms of up to 14 years for anyone carrying them without a permit.


I think it's always a shame when something useful or fun is denied to those who would use it responsibly because of the actions of the irresponsible.

Edit: Azrael brings up the point that it's plausible and likely that only high powered (Class 3 and above) lasers are restricted and thus would require the type of licensing an industrial or academic institution can obtain.

But damn, being able to pop balloons and point into the sky is fun.
Last edited by ZeroSum on Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:56 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby psyck0 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:00 pm UTC

Jeeze, some days it seems like Australia's going down the toilet with all these crazy new laws. Why do you guys put up with them?

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby masher » Tue Apr 22, 2008 10:45 pm UTC

I thought that lasers over 5mW were a controlled item anyway?

.

We put up with them to a certain extent because we look at the US and Say "fuck. that. shit."

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby 22/7 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:15 pm UTC

masher wrote:We put up with them to a certain extent because we look at the US and Say "fuck. that. shit."

Wait, so you put up with the laws to avoid... the US's ridiculous laws?

I'm not exactly sure I understand a couple of things here. For one, why would you want to do this and for another, how would you do it? Where are these people with their laser pointers and how are they shining them in pilots' eyes?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby psyck0 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:19 am UTC

I think that was a snarky reply because he wanted to take a shot at me, and assumed I was American. Which, of course, I am not.

How the hell are they aiming them at pilots' eyes from a long-enough distance that they aren't getting caught, and why are they targeting pilots, of all people?

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby 4=5 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:44 am UTC

if they are then have impossibly steady hands, I've played with lazers and friends before, at 25 feet it's pretty impossible to hit a moving target.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Rysto » Wed Apr 23, 2008 2:48 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:How the hell are they aiming them at pilots' eyes from a long-enough distance that they aren't getting caught, and why are they targeting pilots, of all people?

At the distance they're aiming from, the laser beam has spread quite a bit. IIRC it's at least the size of a human head, and because it's a high-powered laser it's still quite blinding.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Mathmagic » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:30 am UTC

I saw that "shining it into an airplane" thing on a CSI episode once. I knew that people would start doing that, leading to the banning of them.
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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Wormwood » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:43 am UTC

psyck0 wrote:How the hell are they aiming them at pilots' eyes from a long-enough distance that they aren't getting caught, and why are they targeting pilots, of all people?


Because if you can distract/blind a pilot, there is a chance he will fuck something up, and many people will die. I'm fairly certain that they didn't fully think about the consequences of their actions. There are easier (and less lame) ways to kill a lot of people.

I used to think that these were toys, but they are actually surprisingly useful. we used them when training for rock climbing, to point out certain handholds. Eventually you stop pointing with your finger altogether, and just point at everything with the laser. Much more accurate.

Also, how they call NSW a "major Australian state". What are the minor ones?
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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:45 am UTC

If I was Australian I'd say "New Zealand".

But I'm a kiwi, so, uh, damnit.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:52 am UTC

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:56 pm UTC

It appears the ban may only affect Class 3 and Class 4 devices -- those which are dangerous to the eye. In that case, a professor's dinky pen-pointer won't be affected, nor will consumer laser-levels, keychains and the like.


Honestly, Class 3+ lasers are dangerous and could easily be used as a weapon. And since their major uses are industrial or academic, licensing them isn't that big of a deal.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby zealo » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:52 pm UTC

is there a way to turn "they are fun" into a valid reason?
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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:07 pm UTC

I think there is a legitimacy to asking "Why would a regular person ever need one of these?". And since the "... they're fun?" aspect can be reasonably replicated with Class 1 or 2 devices, I'm not sure what's left.

In the end, I guess I'm saying that I don't see the problem with licensing them as you would a firearm -- or at least a rifle. How strict that regulation ends up being is going to vary by country.

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby 22/7 » Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:21 pm UTC

Wormwood wrote:Also, how they call NSW a "major Australian state". What are the minor ones?
Well, about a third of Australia's population is in New South Wales, even though it's probably, what, 5th out of 7 states/territories in terms of size?
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Wormwood » Wed Apr 23, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Wormwood wrote:Also, how they call NSW a "major Australian state". What are the minor ones?
Well, about a third of Australia's population is in New South Wales, even though it's probably, what, 5th out of 7 states/territories in terms of size?


Just seems a little unfair. Imagine the self esteem issues Tasmanians have. People already refer to it as Australia's ballsack, and now they're a minor state. I would not feel important living there.
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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby masher » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:44 pm UTC

psyck0 wrote:I think that was a snarky reply because he wanted to take a shot at me, and assumed I was American. Which, of course, I am not.



Sorry about that. I was writing that reply whilst doing other things.


... we look at countries like the US and say...

would probably be a better version....

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby 22/7 » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:01 am UTC

masher wrote:
psyck0 wrote:I think that was a snarky reply because he wanted to take a shot at me, and assumed I was American. Which, of course, I am not.



Sorry about that. I was writing that reply whilst doing other things.


... we look at countries like the US and say...

would probably be a better version....

I still don't understand what you're saying, but whatever.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Laser Pointers Banned in NSW, Australia

Postby Luthen » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:57 am UTC

Wormwood wrote:Just seems a little unfair. Imagine the self esteem issues Tasmanians have. People already refer to it as Australia's ballsack, and now they're a minor state. I would not feel important living there.


That would be too good for them. Most minor state (it isn't even techinically one) would be the ACT!

On-topic: The lasers were already restricted and the high powered lasers were bought over the internet from the US. The suplliers were meant to check who they sent them to but seemed to have failed.

As for aiming, you can park yourself at the end of the runways, I think, so the plane would be coming straight at you. This is true in Melbourne but I'm not so sure about Sydney (one end of the runway is the sea!).

Anyway, I'd still get one.

EDIT: Misquote!
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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby aeiss » Thu Apr 24, 2008 9:52 am UTC

okay.
people pointing these lasers at planes, would be living under the flight path
which happens to cover half of metropolitan sydney
which also happens to be where a bunch of idiots live, it seems.

also, see this article; some idiot shines a laser at a helicopter searching for those laser shiners: http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/stor ... 01,00.html

also, see this site:
http://www.pangolin.com/faa/laser-aircr ... nation.htm, and this image
http://www.pangolin.com/faa/images/diag ... amples.gif


that is with a 5mw green laser. lasers of powers all the way up to 200mw are available cheaply on the internet, i think 20-50mw greenies are roughly 20-30 usd, so not hard to procure such items.

Morris Iemma implemented (for want of a better word) these laws, as a knee-jerk reaction to the hooliganism exhibited by these laser-shiners, in an attempt to stop the few idiots. In doing so, he's managed to, once again, isolate the rest of the law-abiding citizenship.

Why do we put up with him? There's nobody else who's better, which is a big problem.
Why are there being laws enacted for lasers? That's because in the US, they have guns! GUNS~
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Also, see here: http://www.bigpond.com/news/breaking/co ... 223521.asp
Essentially, Morris Iemma is saying that a reasonable excuse for owning one of these lasers would be to entertain a pet cat.

So basically, a single flash into a cockpit would be enough to have light bouncing around the cabin, which is enough to cause much annoyance. Handheld lasers of the type which are (presumably) being used to shine at airplanes are impossibly hard to keep stable, what with the distances and everything.



..
I have a 30mw greenie myself, I take great care to make sure I'm not shining it when there are planes around. Mostly, I only use it when I'm out camping, so low chance of planes flying overhead and whatnot. Good to point out at the stars, it's like I has a lightsaber :)
But yeah, now I have to not carry it outside my home, and not get caught with it and stuff :(
Sucks for the general public, really, to have a few inconsiderate idiots ruin it for the rest of us. Don't think they'd like it if someone shone it at them while they were driving.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Azrael » Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:37 pm UTC

aeiss wrote:Handheld lasers of the type which are (presumably) being used to shine at airplanes are impossibly hard to keep stable, what with the distances and everything.

People keep saying this.

But I can't be the only (or first) person to realize how easy it would be to strap one of these things to a camera or telescope tripod.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby TomBot » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:40 pm UTC

Well, unless you're standing right on the numbers of the runway, the plane will appear to be moving, so if you're close enough to make a difference, you'll need to move your aim quite quickly.

BTW, at least here in the US, most laser pointers that you can buy in the checkout line, etc., are class IIIa, <5mW, eye damage slow enough that you will blink. Somewhere I heard other countries have comparatively wussy lasers, though. But at least here, banning class 3 would make a difference.

My guess is that the lasers being shined at airplanes are more powerful than that. As others have mentioned, you can get up to about 300mW easily.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Enzyox » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:50 pm UTC

The idiots shinning the lasers are not to blame.

I'm very sure interfering with the flight operations of an aircraft is unlawful already, regardless of whatever device one uses to do this.

The problem is creating an overly broad law banning anything that may have some use that can be dangerous to others in some way. Idiots will be idiots, if they don't have lasers, they will use something else, maybe it is high intensity light next. All you've done is killed the laser market in Australia, what's next?

A person should be allowed to own anything they want unless there is a very good reason to either ban the item or require some special permit to own it.

This could get into a whole debate of governments which the people are assumed to have liberty unless there is a very good reason why not and then the restriction needs to be as specific as possible.

A simple variation of this ban would be to restrict the outdoor use of lasers within X kilometers of an active airport runway. Does not stop the idiots and is nearly useless, but at least some politician can point at it as an example of their outstanding service of protecting the people.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Azrael » Thu Apr 24, 2008 2:40 pm UTC

TomBot wrote:Well, unless you're standing right on the numbers of the runway, the plane will appear to be moving, so if you're close enough to make a difference, you'll need to move your aim quite quickly.

Tape it to a 2x4 and hold it like a rifle? Considering that laser sights are used on high power rifles, the insistence that a laser device can't be steadily aimed with reasonable ease is ... silly.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby zealo » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:54 pm UTC

but who would bother? as far as i know most people who shine them at planes are just doing it for a quick laugh. by the time they strap the laser to anything they would have found a new distraction
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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby 4=5 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:26 pm UTC

if you licensed each lazer above a certain power and then created all lasers sold to have a barcode sequence of flashes instead of steady output then by having a light sensor in the cockpit you could identify whose lazer it was

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby ZeroSum » Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:56 pm UTC

Until someone modifies their laser. Welcome to the microstamping issue.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby 4=5 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:17 pm UTC

yup when someone modifies their laser so that it doesn't have the normal tag, you get a nice confirmation that they are really serious about using it for criminal activities.

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby ZeroSum » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:20 pm UTC

Or maybe they needed the laser to send out a continuous output or a specific pulse pattern for the experiment it's being used for. Or they just don't want the government to be able to personally identify them. I don't want the government to be able to personally identify me.

Plus, couldn't I just report my laser stolen then down a plane?

Also, do you intend to randomly inspect the lasers to make sure they're not modified?

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby 4=5 » Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:23 pm UTC

for them to personally identify you you'd have to have your laser on and pointed at them. Yes you could do that :D

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:02 pm UTC

Also, the person would have to remember the sequence of flashes (with so many, unique sequences that are easy to distinguish will be quite long) and then know to whom that sequence of flashes is registered. What.
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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby 4=5 » Sat Apr 26, 2008 7:56 pm UTC

person ? I was thinking it would be like how remotes send different signals of flashes, you'd use a machine

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Gnatty » Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:43 am UTC

That still might not work, you could just stick something in the way every now and then to disrupt the beam.
Or if they make the signal v. high frequency.....
But still, every plane (or at least a large number of them) would need to be fitted with sensors to detect the beams

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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:22 pm UTC

Nah, it shouldn't be a problem to pre-emptively mount these into every pilot's eyes.
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Re: High Powered Laser Pointers Restricted in NSW, Australia

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:17 am UTC

danielrigano wrote:I think green laser pointer below 30 mw is rather safe.

You're a spambot and have been reported as such, but just in case anyone believes you, no it is not. Anything above 1mW will be deemed a weapon under laws about to be enacted in NSW, and carrying around any laser pointer in public without a "reasonable excuse" will be treated the same as carrying a weapon in public.


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