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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood 388

Posted by timothy
from the everything's-more-sanguinary-in-texas dept.
Presto Vivace writes "Carlton Purvis of Security Management News reports that a tip from an amateur UAV enthusiast 'is what led Texas authorities to open a major criminal investigation into the waste practices of a Dallas meat packing plant.' The photo shows a river of blood."
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Amateur UAV Pilot Exposes Texas River of Blood

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koan (80826) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:43PM (#38813597)

    After reading that article I get the feeling there will be a law passed about "model aircraft" using cameras soon.

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:44PM (#38813609) Homepage Journal

      Hey! Kids!

      Bring a straw!

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Potor (658520) <farker1@gmail . c om> on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:47PM (#38813637) Journal

      Restricted airspace above meatpacking plants and CAFOs?

      I could see that coming.

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

        by baldass_newbie (136609) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:49PM (#38813651) Homepage Journal

        Bet you a nickel the police would need a warrant before such surveillance.
        In fact, I kind of hope they do, public benefit notwithstanding.

        • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

          by Shavano (2541114) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:06PM (#38813789)

          The general rule is if it can be observed from off your property it's fair game. No warrant needed.

          • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Interesting)

            by WorBlux (1751716) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:18PM (#38813909)
            Exactly and flowing water is public (state) property anyways.
            • You don't live in the west, do you?

              You might want to look up water rights. They're often worth more than land.

              • Poor choice of words by WorBlux. The streambed is public, even if the water isn't.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Anonymous Coward

                In Texas, all rivers and streams fed from rivers, are publical property. Some land owners don't like that, but as long as you are on the river or within a couple feet (don't remember exact distinace any more) or the river's shore line, you are perfectly within the rights granted by the state. Many hunters use this access to do just that - hunt.

            • Most Eastern US states use some form of riparian law, which is what you are referring to. Groundwater is public property and may not be owned by individuals, although ownership and regulatory powers are split by the high and low water marks (local cops have police rights between those two points in some cases, go figure). In my state I personally can own the land under my creek because it's not a navigable watercourse, my property line extends completely past it, and I'm living in one of the original 13 c

          • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

            by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:20PM (#38813921) Journal
            There has been some haggling(largely unsuccessful; because what wouldn't we do to Win The War On Drugs?) about exactly how much specialized gear you are allowed to 'observe' with before it becomes surveillance in gross violation of reasonable expectations.

            Thermal imaging has attracted a number of court cases: cops in vehicles or aircraft go hunting for anomalously high longwave IR emissions that suggest a building may be being used as a grow-op. It can certainly be argued that IR radiates away from your house just the same that visible light does; but it doesn't do so well under the 'what a member of the public might observe from the street' test.

            I'm assuming that cheaper drones, fancy terahertz imaging technology, laser mics, and other sci-fi stuff will continue to nibble at the question of what standard, exactly, 'observation' constitutes... Is it "absolutely anything I infer without physical trespass" or does it have some relation to what the 'ordinary man' could be expected to notice?
        • Plain view doctrine (Score:5, Informative)

          by mindcandy (1252124) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @09:15PM (#38814343)
          The Horton test applies here.

          1. they would be lawfully present (it's a public waterway).
          2. they lawfully accessed the evidence (saw it in plain view with the unaided eye**).
          3. the incriminating nature was immediately apparent (river of blood).

          ** When it comes to fancy technology, the current precedent is Kyllo v. United States, 533 U.S. 27 (2001) although it was a close (5-4) decision, the premise being the police used "technology not generally available to the public".
        • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

          by stephanruby (542433) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:30PM (#38814895)

          Bet you a nickel the police would need a warrant before such surveillance.

          Yes, that's how police helicopter pilots fly in general, they take off in their helicopter and they shut their eyes for fear of seeing anything without a warrant.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by JWSmythe (446288)

          Nope.

          The police do this all the time, with real aircraft.

          They'll frequently use helicopters with FLIR, to identify marajuana grow houses. They use hot lights, which require extra cooling. Some vent to the outside, which leaves an obvious odor. Others use additional air conditioning. In either case, the room is warmer than other rooms, or surrounding houses. They usually find target homes by checking for homes that use more power. That information is appare

          • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

            by darth dickinson (169021) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:47PM (#38815375) Homepage

                Extra power consumption, with a hot room or plume of heat from an extra air conditioner, is enough probable cause for a warrant.

            Now this has me legitimately concerned. I have a home networking lab that I use to validate various network configs for training, and for customers. A rack of routers, switches, and servers pulls quite the electrical draw, and generates quite a bit of heat. Not as much as grow lights, I'd imagine, but still...

            • by JWSmythe (446288)

              I learned a good bit of that from a local detective. We'd shoot the shit sometimes, and he told me a lot about work. Nothing specific to active cases, but a lot of methodology, inter-agency politics, etc. All in all, if more people had nice casual conversations with the police like we used to have, people would have more respect for the police. At least for the good ones.

              I guess the question would be, do you run 24/7, and do you have so much equipment that you require supp

              • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

                by delinear (991444) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @04:24AM (#38816489)

                I guess the question would be, do you run 24/7, and do you have so much equipment that you require supplemental air conditioning running all the time? Is your power bill at least a couple hundred dollars higher than would be typical for a house in your area with similar square footage?

                That probably describes the computer situation of 90% of the self respecting geeks here, myself included :)

    • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:49PM (#38813657) Journal
      It would fit a general trend... [nytimes.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Thanks for that link. I'm not a "PETA-freak", by any stretch of the imagination, but as a photographer, and just as a citizen who believes in the 1st Amendment, those are some of the scariest links I've read since NDAA. I'm glad I don't live in any of the mentioned states, but I have certainly photographed farms without written permission (I have a fondness for pastoral scenes with hay bales). I'd gladly contribute to any effort to get these ridiculous laws thrown out as unconstitutional.

    • All they need to do is classify any drone as "munition", then BATFA can have some fun.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Runaway1956 (1322357)

      There is nothing to "like" about any of this. I'm not going to "defend" the meat packers. But, one thing I noted while watching the video, is that it is a 99 year old plant.

      I'll give them just one small benefit of the doubt. It's POSSIBLE that they didn't know they were discharging blood into the creek. Old plant, old plumbing systems, plus the fact that regulations a hundred years ago were pretty lax, makes it possible that a crappy old pipe was just never dug up or disconnected.

      But, the fact that the

      • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

        by Maritz (1829006) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @03:29AM (#38816321)

        I'll give them just one small benefit of the doubt. It's POSSIBLE that they didn't know they were discharging blood into the creek. Old plant, old plumbing systems, plus the fact that regulations a hundred years ago were pretty lax, makes it possible that a crappy old pipe was just never dug up or disconnected.

        "Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

        I agree it's possible, and it's also possible that even if they did know they still wouldn't care.

    • by PPH (736903)
      It would be fun to fly one over some of the forests that the conservation funds have bought up (and closed to the public). Suddenly, logging turns out to be 'wise land management'.
  • Is a UAV necessary? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @07:52PM (#38813675)

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Columbia+Meat&hl=en&ll=32.751275,-96.787695&spn=0.001405,0.002068&sll=32.802955,-96.769923&sspn=0.47903,0.576782&vpsrc=6&t=h&z=19

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:39PM (#38814049)

      In the GOOGLE MAP [google.com] where the creek joins the river, it's pretty obvious.

      I'm wondering how this could have been going on for so long, long enough for Google to have images (so obviously it's not a one time or sporadic event) event, without anyone noticing, does no one boat up that river? Fish on it? No nearby land owners?

      Odd...

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by atari2600a (1892574) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:00PM (#38813731)
    Most slaughterhouses in the US pay no attention to federal humane slaughtering & biohazard laws, what I find most surprising is they just *threw away* the wastewater-- that stuff makes perfect additive for fertilizer!
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:22PM (#38813929)

    That creek is just flowing with the blood of their enemies.

  • by davidbrit2 (775091) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:25PM (#38813961) Homepage
    We made a toaster dance with it.
  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @08:38PM (#38814037)
    I can see how they can do this undetected for so long, the Trinity around Dallas is little better than an open sewer. It's nasty and smells really bad.
  • by oldmac31310 (1845668) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:17PM (#38814791) Homepage
    Such a shame wasting all of that pig blood. They could have made lovely black pudding.
  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @10:24PM (#38814855) Homepage
    When you're the owner of a slaughterhouse, turning a river red with blood is pollution. When your name is Moses, [wikipedia.org] it's Divine Judgement.
  • 3rd world nation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday January 24, 2012 @11:36PM (#38815311) Journal
    Why is America becoming more and more like a 3rd world nation?
    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @12:46AM (#38815657) Homepage

      We're not. In fact, America has improved progressively with each passing generation. It's your own perception that has changed. That's because newer surveillance and reporting technologies illuminate wrongdoing in ways normally you haven't been accustomed to before.

      As people, we respond more to visual stimuli regardless of the fact worse has been reported before in just words alone.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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