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Drone Photos Lead to Indictment For Texas Polluters 177

Posted by timothy
from the river-of-pig-blood dept.
In January of this year, we posted news of a major pollution site in Texas that was the subject of some anonymous amateur sleuths with drones, who used their UAVs to document the release of a "river of blood" (pig blood, that is) into the Trinity River as it flows through Dallas. Now, garymortimer writes, that documentation has resulted in legal action in the form of an indictment from a Dallas grand jury. "The story went viral and continues to receive hits nearly a year later. I believe this is the first environmental crime to be prosecuted on the basis of UA evidence. Authorities had to act because of the attention the story was receiving."
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Drone Photos Lead to Indictment For Texas Polluters

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:07PM (#42415419)

    Would have preferred to see: "Authorities had to act because it was the right thing to do". Not because it has become a public spectacle.

  • by koan (80826) on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:09PM (#42415443)

    And most likely one of the last as new regulations pushed forth by corporate lobbies will restrict drone use or create "air space" restrictions over corporate land.

  • You are so naive (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:22PM (#42415577)

    Morality only applies to commoners. The first casualty of wealth is the soul.

    Authorities largely exist to protect the wealth of the rich. Ostensibly they also protect the safety of the poor, but orders of magnitude more law-enforcement money is spent on protecting the rich from threats to their wealth.

    I agree that this is not how the world should be. But this state of things is a natural consequence of human behavior. Our only defense against it is eternal vigilance (and that means you).

  • Small steps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @07:34PM (#42415685)

    Authorities need probable cause and a warrant to search your home. But, neither is required to recruit your neighbor to tell them what they see in your home.

    See something, say something is just another small step toward tyranny, and we will all be the culprits.

  • Scandal that isn't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:13PM (#42415985)
    The story is self-congratulatory and implies that the authorities only did their job because of the publicity on the issue. While it is true that the authorities only acted because of the original story, there is no evidence that once they were made aware of the story that they did not move at a deliberate pace in order to determine how widespread the infraction was and to prosecute it. The fact of the matter is that depending on how the plant was set up, there would have been no reason for a government official to observe the pollution. That is the only reason that they needed the original story in order to act. They had to know there was something to act on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:29PM (#42416087)

    Morality only applies to commoners. The first casualty of wealth is the soul.

    Authorities largely exist to protect the wealth of the rich. Ostensibly they also protect the safety of the poor, but orders of magnitude more law-enforcement money is spent on protecting the rich from threats to their wealth.

    I agree that this is not how the world should be. But this state of things is a natural consequence of human behavior. Our only defense against it is eternal vigilance (and that means you).

    A rather naive statement aswell. A product of the times I suppose, and appropriate for this time.

    The Authority exists to protect the powerful. It could be some madman bent on burinig money and living on bread and water.

    It's rather daft when people proclaim that money is power, because it's the opposite that's really true. Money is only power if the people in power allow it to be.

    Morality applies to all men, the problem is context. As an extreme example: Your mother's death will save millions of lives, which do you choose? This can be extended into to political choices, simply because a single decisions aren't about black and white. The problem really is the political system we use.

    A world that should be would be a Direct Democracy that would give more voting power to people who vote on decisions that improve the society, and penalize the wrong vote (to a degree). This however has so many technical and political problems it's thousands of years off.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:47PM (#42416185)

    Of course it's way to time consuming (ie: expensive) to find the right shots, so it will just be a bunch of porn actresses pretending they had no idea they left their curtains open for the hovering drone. You know, just like all the movies where that chick has never really thought about kissing a girl before, but... what they heck....oh, hey, turns out that first-timer eats pussy like a pro.

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:52PM (#42416207)

    I'm getting really sick of this tiresome rant popping up on every single Slashdot story. Government is corrupt. Corporations rule the world. We are all slaves. blah blah blah!

    Can't you guys give it a rest?

    Why do you always post your rants as AC anyway?

    And why twist any poorly phrased summary into a soap box?

    There is only this one guy, Gary Mortimer, stating that "public pressure forced the government to act". More likely it was the first time someone brought them proof sufficient to obtain a warrant to search over private lands. You clowns would be the first to complain if the government started flying their own drones, or trespassing across private lands to sample the creek.

    Take you tinfoil hat off for just a few minutes each day.

  • by icebike (68054) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:07PM (#42416321)

    Exactly.

    Had the authorities demanded to search the plant for no reason, the same conspiratorial whack jobs posting as AC here would have condemned them for that. Had they flown their own drone it would have been government invasion of privacy. Had government posted stream guards at every stream and river it would be a run away gestapo police state.

    When made aware of a crime with clear evidence they took action. Yet virtually every AC posting here twists it into some shallow victory of a hundred citizens standing up to city hall.

  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:55PM (#42417141) Homepage Journal

    Not only that, but saying that the world isn't perfect is not a justification for not trying to make it better. It's also in human nature to try to improve things.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:58PM (#42417151) Homepage Journal
    So... you're afraid of technology? Got it. Please turn over your geek card on the way out.
    Geeks love and fear technology. Gotta get me a GPS, gotta get me an iphone, gotta get me an internet enabled car, gotta put my data in the cloud. Oh noes! The GPS knows where I am! My Iphone is collecting my data! My car is broadcasting my bad driving habits to my insurance company! The cloud is selling off my private data!
  • by hawkinspeter (831501) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @09:09AM (#42419263)
    They should just get shut down. If a business is blatantly ignoring and bypassing a law, why should it be allowed to continue doing business? Shut it down and throw the owners/board into prison.

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