The Canadian Forces will deploy an unprecedented number of surveillance drones in the next year to crack down on online piracy, a move that could save billions of dollars for the federal government.
The military, in a move to address rising online piracy rates, is deploying a fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor a variety of industries, including music, movies, video games and book sales.
This is the second time in less than a year the military has stepped in to tackle online piracy.
In September, Canada announced it was introducing legislation to force websites to pay royalties to copyright holders.
The legislation would also ban websites that use pirated content from receiving government subsidies.
A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces said in an email that the Canadian government has not approved the deployment of drones to monitor online piracy because of the risk that the drones could be detected by other surveillance devices.
“While this is a new initiative, it is a prudent and cost-effective use of our limited resources,” the spokesperson said.
“Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of our soldiers, sailors, aircrew and air assets, and this is an example of this.”
The deployment of the drones comes as online piracy is at a historic high, with some Canadians now spending more than $100,000 a year on pirated entertainment.
Last year, the National Crime Agency estimated that the estimated revenue generated by online piracy in the United States amounted to about $11.5 billion a year.
Pirate groups have long warned that the rise in piracy could spell disaster for the economy.
The Canadian government, in recent years, has been trying to address the problem by tightening copyright laws.