On November 12, IBM filed a patent for a system that will use blockchain technology in order to prevent package theft performed by drones. In the filing published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, IBM will track the altitude of drones by using an Internet of Things altimeter. It will continuously upload the data that it collects to a secure blockchain platform.

In the future, it could become a regular thing for drones to steal packages. The idea is that the package itself would be outfitted with an altitude sensor that would trigger an alarm if a major change in altitude is measured outside of specific preset criteria. Once the alarm is triggered, an Internet of Things device with GPS would transmit its exact location data. That data would go to a tracking module. In essence, it is like giving your Amazon parcel a way to call for help if something happens when it is en route to your house or if it was delivered and then disappears from your porch.

In the patent application, IBM describes how an unattended delivery of a package can leave the parcel vulnerable to theft or vandalism. This can happen after delivery and before it is retrieved by its rightful owner. In the filing, IBM explained that the meeting of increased drone usage and increased online shopping makes for a situation in which a drone could be used with nefarious intent. The drone could anonymously take the package that is left by a delivery driver on someone's doorstep. The drone would fly off with the package, and nobody would know who was operating the drone.

In September, IBM filed a related patent for a system that would set up blockchain technology in order to take on privacy and security concerns from unmanned aerial vehicles. This is another name for a drone. The filing added that blockchain could provide an effective method for managing data related to drone use, especially when there is a security risk level that is widely considered to be high. As the holiday season approaches, watch this for updates.