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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 @08:30PM (#42415641)

    But I did, and then browsed around and ran across this totally offtopic but rather cool project. A range finding radar project using tin cans, candar?

    http://www.suasnews.com/2012/12/20299/build-a-small-radar-system-capable-of-sensing-range-doppler-and-synthetic-aperture-radar-imaging/ [suasnews.com]

  • by theodp (442580) on Friday December 28, 2012 @08:57PM (#42415897)

    Google-Funded Drones To Hunt Rhino Poachers [motherjones.com]: Thanks to a five million dollar grant awarded by Google on Tuesday, the organization is expanding its use of unmanned aerial vehicles to track and deter criminals who illegally hunt endangered animal species around the world. WWF spokesman Lee Poston is not calling these vehicles drones, because he doesn't want people to confuse them with the military kind. According to Poston, they are "sophisticated radio-controlled devices like hobbyists use" that can be "controlled from your iPad or other device." But the WWF website does call them "conservation drones."

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Friday December 28, 2012 @09:31PM (#42416101)

    Seriously.

    Folks lambaste the "Court of Public Opinion" for subverting the justice system, but that seems to be the only one that works sometimes.

  • Re:You are so naive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NewtonsLaw (409638) on Friday December 28, 2012 @10:19PM (#42416433)

    "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?"

    Sadly, while I might once have agreed with everything you said, I fear that times have changed -- or perhaps it's just that the Net has allowed the truth to be revealed in a way that governments can no longer control.

    Everywhere you look these days, there are many and varied examples of government being driven, directed and controlled by industries and those with lots (of money) at stake.

    Look at Kim Dotcom for instance -- the MPAA/RIAA may have had plenty of legal justification for some of what they did -- but certainly not all of it and not the way it was done. Hell, the FBI/MPAA/RIAA triad even bullied the New Zealand government in engaging in "unlawful acts" to carry out their dirty deeds.

    We've seen the problem of politicians protecting the rich at the cost of the poor grow to become a major problem down in this part of the world (NZL) and it's plainly obvious that the situation is far worse elsewhere.

    Bureaucrats (ie: central and local government) spend most of their time simply working to cover it's own ass -- in case things go wrong.

    Just look at most of the laws and regulations out there. They're not to improve the safety or to benefit the public nearly so much as they are to ensure that when something goes wrong, some bureaucrat somewhere can say "not my fault, we passed a law/regulation against that and the offender(s) broke those laws/regulations".

    Look at gun control for instance...

    It's illegal to murder someone with a firearm (or anything else for that matter) -- so the problem of firearms is solved! If someone goes postal or kills innocent pupils/teachers in a rampage -- it's not the fault of any bureaucrat - after all, they've made killing illegal so it's not *their* fault that kids can get their hands on assault rifles so easily.

    And they're doing it again with terrorism... they're making just about *everything* illegal -- so when a terrorist does attack and innocent folk are killed, they can turn around and say "not our fault, we made everything illegal -- what more could we do?"

    As for drones -- well yes, they're almost certainly going to make them illegal (in the hands of private individuals) too. After all, if there's one thing that bureaucrats *don't* like, it's having their actions spied on by those they're allegedly employed to protect.

    Sorry but the "perfect" world never existed and never will.

    And look... not posting as an AC! :-o

  • Re:You are so naive (Score:5, Interesting)

    by trevelyon (892253) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @03:02AM (#42418033)
    I would agree those were cherry picked so how about we look at a few of the major trends:

    Trust of politicians and government in general: http://www.people-press.org/2010/04/18/public-trust-in-government-1958-2010/ [people-press.org]

    Income disparity (who is getting all the new wealth): http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3629 [cbpp.org]

    I don't have a particular link to environmtal damage but if you can't see that in just about every news source (even the terrible US ones) then you are working hard not to see it.

    I will say that not everything is gloom and doom butpeople commenting on corruption, corporate greed and increase in power seems to me just being perceptive not overly negative. Most statistics I've seen and real world experience for the average person seem to support this. I would also point out there is strong evidence that government control is increasing and "rule of law" is decreasing. Again I don't have specific metrics for these but I certainly can point to several pieces of legislation as well as personal experience dealing with governmental institutions (border crossings, airports, traffic stops, tax assessment, building departments). Apparently you do not see this trend but the large number of comments about this just might be from people who see these trends or have experienced them first hand.

    Finally, the impetus behind pointing this out just might be a desire to fix some of these issues. The first step in fixing a problem is to identify the problem. Refusing to acknowledge real problems does no service to people facing them or to resolving the problem itself. Just a few things you might want to consider. Hope this helps,
  • Re:legal stuff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wierd_w (1375923) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @12:43PM (#42420039)

    In this case, let's look at the one party consent with a different viewpoint:

    You really DO pay all your bills, and make use of automatic bill payments via your banking institution.

    One day, you get a call from a collections agency. They inform you that they are calling on behalf of some organization that you have never heard of before, and that they are authorized to collect an obscenely large debt. (The exact mechanism of how this has come about is insubstantial. Could have been identity theft. Could have been straight up wire fraud. Does not matter. A debt was created, it wasn't created by you, it has gone to collections, and the collections people have your number.)

    You politely inform them that they must be mistaken, that you did not create said debt, and further do not have ay relationship whatsoever with their client.

    They become beligerent, and make demands. Start telephone harrassment.

    You live in a 1 party consent state, so you elect to capture their abusive telephone practices as evidence.

    They call, you press record.

    They continue their beligerence, insisting upon your culpability for the debt. You inform them that you are going to seek the services of an attourney, if they continue to harrass you. They rudely assert that their telephone activities are not harrassment, and persist on the hardliner of your owing a debt, and demand to know when you will be making payment. You tell them to stop calling you, and to please send all correspondence by mail, say goodbye, and hang up.

    They call back immediately. You press record.

    For the next few days, as they continue their nonstop harrassment, you repeatedly tell them to cease telephone communications, and to correspond by mail, until they tell you that they don't have to comply with that request, until they have received a letter from you making that request in writing. Thank them for the information, and ask why they didn't reveal it sooner. They get beligerent again, and hang up rudely.

    You will have by this time contacted an attourney, and established a legal relationship. You also mail them the written letter stating that they are to preform all contact via writing with your attourney, the address of his office, and the case number, with postal service reciept confirmation.

    They call you. You press record.

    You inform them that the letter to cease telphone collections has been mailed, and inform them about the attourney. They become beligerent, and essentially call you a deadbeat debt holding liar.

    Harrassing telephone calls continue. You record them.

    The postal service mails you deliery confirmation on your written letter.

    The call you. You press record.

    They demand to know when you will pay, and state that they are considering legal action. You inform them that they are in violation of consumer protection laws by contacting you directly, after having received written instructions to preform all collections by mail via your attourney. They assert no such letter has arrived. You inform them that you have delivery confirmation from the postal service asserting that it most certainly did, along with the tracking number, then demand the contact information for their attourney and the case number, concerning their threatened legal action. They become beligerent, call you a liar again, and hang up.

    Harrassing telephone calls continue.

    You present your collected telephone conversations to your attourney.

    He sues the living fuck out of the collections agency on your behalf.

    Without the one party consent recordings, you would have no documentation or evidence of the abusive practices of the collections agency, and would not have a case.

    With them, you nail their testicles to the wall as a monument against abusive practices.

    Naturally, a debt collector would *NEVER* consent to being so recorded, EXACTLY because of this potential liability. This is why 2 party consent for telephone recordings is very bad for average citizens, seeking legal remedies, and very good for abusive institutions. One party consent allows either end to record telephone calls for illegal and abusive behaviors, and to seek legal remedies as appropriate.

    One party consent makes a shitton of sense.

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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