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FAA Grants Arlington Texas Police Department Permission To Fly UAVs 158

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the coming-for-timothy dept.
cylonlover writes with news that another police department has received authorization to start using drones for tasks like "...photographing crime scenes and searching for missing people." From the article: "The police department in Arlington can now use new tools in support of public safety over the Texas urban community — two small helicopter Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. The FAA has granted permission for the Arlington police to fly these unmanned aircraft under certain circumstances: they must fly under 400 feet, only in the daytime, be in sight of the operator and a safety observer, and be in contact with the control tower at the nearby Dallas-Fort Worth airport — one of the busiest in the country." They're using a Leptron Avenger, which "has been designed with military grade features" but don't worry, "police are quick to emphasize that the 4- to 5-foot-long aircraft aren’t the same as military drones."
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FAA Grants Arlington Texas Police Department Permission To Fly UAVs

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  • Just another way for the police department to pick the low hanging traffic enforcement fruit. Too bad the sequester didn't knock "public safety's" budget more heavily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181)

      "police are quick to emphasize that the 4- to 5-foot-long aircraft aren’t the same as military drones."

      Yet.

    • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:11AM (#43223397) Homepage

      Because the police are the modern rendition of the standing army our founding fathers feared would oppress us. They'll cut the military in a heart beat because it's not useful to them; the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits them from using it in any "interesting" capacity on us. Amending the PCA would also cause a furor among the public and the military. All of that sort of beside the point because many cops today have the same weapons, training and equipment as infantrymen.

      Ironically, law enforcement, unlike military service, is precisely the sort of government function that needs to be heavily privatized. It used to be mostly private anyway. When your county hired a sheriff, they were literally just an armed citizen who carried a gun and badge that let the world know "I do full time, what any citizen can do when faced with a crime." Like a private citizen doing risky work, they had to be bonded and insured. Broke in the wrong house and did $10k of damage? Didn't come out of the treasury; it came out of your privately funded insurance and/or bond money.

      Our system is broken today because we moved away from the principle of least privilege. That used to be the operating assumption of law enforcement (if I don't know the law, I don't enforce it because getting it wrong means I'm a criminal). We went from a law enforcement system where each officer was a mostly unprivileged user to being damn near like root.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yeah, and privatized law enforcement worked out great. Remember the pinkertons? There's a word for privatizing law enforcement, that's fascism.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          Additionally, to you rpoint, isn't TSA semi-private (gov't instructed, privately run?)

          Yep. They are so much better than the fully public institutions.

        • The pinkertons got away with what they did to the unions because many local governments were bought and paid for by monied interests. This is really not any worse than today where cops routinely get away with stuff that is actually worse than what the pinkertons were permitted to do. A pinkerton who broke into the wrong house and shot up a family could be lawfully shot dead by the head of household. Today, you do that to a cop with a warrant based on a false statement and you're going to get it so far up th

          • by gd2shoe (747932)

            Remember, it was AC who brought up fascism.

            No, it wouldn't be facism. it would be far worse than today's situation.

            When a concealed carry permit holder can arrest a cop "going Rodney King" on someone and drag his sorry ass to the sheriff, that's not Fascism. That's what liberty and equality before the law looks like.

            Nice dream. It's totally unworkable, however. You could THEORETICALLY arrest a cop today who's in the middle of committing a felony where someone is, or may become injured. If you didn't get yourself killed, you'd wind up in prison.

            Now examine the same situation with a privatized cop. There's no difference, really. You've apprehended (kidnapped) a cop who claims to have been carrying out

        • No... you're correct. Privatized law enforcement won't work in our current system, but that's really only because the rest of the legal infrastructure is governmental in nature.

          EG. The judges and court system are NOT privatized, nor are the prisons, so you'd only be privatizing one component of a greater whole. Such a combo (as we're already witnessing with such projects as the red light and speed cameras, where a private company gets a cut of as much as 50% of the revenue of each ticket issued) just encou

          • by gd2shoe (747932)

            Please tell me you're just trolling.

            Really, the only difference between a private business handling an aspect of the job of law enforcement and govt. handling it is the fact that private businesses have a primary focus or goal on profit-making.

            Right there. There's your problem. People wail about cops having quotas, and rightly so. Privitization will only make the situation worse. The more tickets handed out, the more arrests made, the more hazardous situations handled, the more the contractors get paid.

            But as long as govt. retains control of actually making the laws and verifying they're enforced fairly/justly, it shouldn't matter if it's accomplished by "outsourcing" it to private contractors or doing it with govt. employees.

            Enforcing, you mean with cops... like the ones you just privatized? Or will you keep IA public? Where will you hire your IA cops? Oh, right, out of the private sector. We already have a problem with revol

            • Sure, you identified one of the problems (private business having a profit motive), and I agree with that. But as I said in the last line of my comment, govt. is often just as focused on making a profit for itself (despite not being in a situation where it promises that to its stockholders). That's a result of having TOO MUCH government, to the point where organization after organization has to try to justify its continued existence. If, say, a municipal police force can rake in lots of revenue on questiona

      • You make a lot of interesting points, but you have to admit that any private law enforcement that was created today would be created in such a way that it would be worse than any existed public law enforcement.

        And You example of insurance/bonded is wrong IMHO.
        "Didn't come out of the treasury; it came out of your privately funded insurance and/or bond money." Except that it did come out of the treasury, because his pay has to cover his insurance costs, and those costs included operation expenses, money to pr

        • Except that it did come out of the treasury, because his pay has to cover his insurance costs, and those costs included operation expenses, money to promote their services in the form of ads and the like, and profit for CEOs.

          The difference is that with a private police/law enforcement organization is that if the company screws up too badly:
          1. The government organization that hired them are at least somewhat shielded from the total liability.
          2. The company itself will go bankrupt (no profits for the corrupt/incompetent owners)
          3. Another company will replace the bad one; absorbing only the 'worthy' assets of the old company(preferably, I know this stuff is often messed up).
          4. It's much easier to 'fire' the entire police depar

          • Yes, and it is easier for an individual with insurance sock up increased insurance costs and in a way get a lower total salary because they put more of their own salary towards increased insurance.

            But you can do this is a public system, and there are many downsides to this monetary model. Sometimes you want a police officer to take risks.

            • by Firethorn (177587)

              Yes, and it is easier for an individual with insurance sock up increased insurance costs and in a way get a lower total salary because they put more of their own salary towards increased insurance.

              Only works up to a point, at some point if you have too many claims you can't get insurance anymore, or you're no longer making enough money to live on since you're paying so much in insurance. This doesn't just apply to individuals, but companies as well.

              But you can do this is a public system, and there are many downsides to this monetary model. Sometimes you want a police officer to take risks.

              Like I said, on average I still support them being public. You generally don't want an emergency services organization making every decision purely from a monetary risk to themselves perspective.

          • Hmmm.

            Ok, let's look at this in terms of economies of scale. Unions are a great idea. They help keep employers honest, working conditions good, and pay high.

            Except when they don't.

            Why not? I mean, sometimes unions are fantastic. We need them. Why do they frequently make things worse and not better? There's a little known sociology principle: Regardless of what a bureaucracy was originally created for, it will eventually come to value self preservation above its design goal.

            Ok, that's one reason, but i

            • by Firethorn (177587)

              Um.... Wow. Always humbled a bit when somebody responds with a huge post to one of mine.

              On Unions - I'll keep it short and simple: There needs to be a balance of power between Businesses, Unions, and workers. Yes, I recognize that Unions don't always act in the Worker's best interests, thus workers need power against the union. Especially the mega-unions you mention. Where the line needs to be drawn is more a gray area than some sharp division, but ON AVERAGE I think that Unions need to be more compan

      • "Can't tell if Ayn Rand or not..."
    • Fail. Sequester is about FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. This article is about the City of Arlington, Texas PD.
    • Too bad the sequester didn't knock "public safety's" budget more heavily.

      Hint: The "sequester" is a Federal Budget issue. "Public Safety" is a Local issue, mostly.

  • Oh A-Town (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't really surprise me in this particular city. They'll probably use it for aerial views of the Cowboys losing. :(

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Remember, you aren't just a taxpayer, resident or citizen of Texas, you're also an inmate!

      • Same is true in South Carolina, only you are less valuable than the many pigs and other livestock raised in the state.

        • by ByOhTek (1181381)

          I think that post is in response to a signature seen around here somewhere. Something about not just being a resident or taxpayer of Texas, but also a citizen.

    • by cod3r_ (2031620)
      bro.. i don't dig your style there.. COWBOYS going to the superbowl this year. Mark my words down.
    • by mk1004 (2488060)

      Doesn't really surprise me in this particular city. They'll probably use it for aerial views of the Cowboys losing. :(

      Only if Jerry gets his cut.

  • by Covalent (1001277) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:44AM (#43223133)
    Originally there was some opposition to police car dashboard cameras. The thinking was that they would result in an invasion of privacy for average citizens. This has actually happened to a small extent, but I think the primary result has been an increased transparency of the police department. Procedures are better followed and cops who violate rules are more easily punished.

    So for all of the doom and gloom about a police state and the lack of privacy this technology will bring, I tend to think the opposite will happen - Police departments that use these UAVs for inappropriate purposes will be caught and publicly denounced. In the meantime, they might actually find missing people or spot criminals, which is definitely a public good.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:03AM (#43223327) Homepage

      Procedures are better followed and cops who violate rules are more easily punished.

      That's the funniest thing I've read all week.

      Cops still act like they can confiscate cameras and make you delete images, they still beat people for no good reason, and they do still do all of the shit they always did.

      Now they've learned to do it out of frame of the dashboard camera.

      In the meantime, they might actually find missing people or spot criminals, which is definitely a public good.

      Oh, won't someone think of the children? As long as someone is keeping the children safe, everything must be good, right?

      Sorry, but while it's possible to find one or more cases where this is of benefit, there are far more cases where it will be used to our detriment. Until they can make damned sure they won't abuse it, making excuses for a few cases where it will be helpful is just playing into their hands.

      Arbitrary search and seizure anywhere within 200 miles of a border might catch some bad people, but mostly it's just encroaching on rights and sucks.

      They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety

      • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:22AM (#43223525)
        Bit of a strawman there. GP wasn't claiming dashboard cams were a magical solution to 100% all police misconduct problems. They have though ensnared some cops behaving poorly, and have not created a police state by themselves. Were the dashboard cams not there, there would be a few more victims of cops being cops, a few more bad cops on the streets, and would still have as much of a police state as we have now. That was GP's point.

        I disagree with GP that drones are going to backfire much on cops though, at least without causing a tragedy. Even if a drone gets sucked into an engine and people die as a result, I'm sure the cops will get to keep their overpriced toys and we'll keep paying for it.
    • The use of "Searching for missing people" is obvious the cover for any misconduct. You can always be looking for missing people, everywhere and at any time. Do something you should not be doing with a drone, use the excuse of searching for missing people.

    • I am fine with them flying a drone. ... Until they couple of to a face recognition database, and store my walk of life in another database.

      It's not that I don't trust the cops. I do. I just don't trust that all my private data is safe on some database.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Nah, the dashcams are known to have an unusually high failure rate whenever it's existence might benefit a citizen.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:45AM (#43223149)

    Given the operational parameters I predict a short life span for these.

  • by Anon-Admin (443764) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:47AM (#43223163) Homepage Journal

    Please, please fly one of them over my house.

    That way they can have an mid air collision with the Estes model rocket I will happen to be launching at the time. My special one where I replace the parachute cord with steal cable to make sure it does not break. :P

    • by jest3r (458429)

      If one of these things is flying over YOUR PROPERTY are you allowed to blast it out of the sky?

      Or will doing so bring the wrath of the justice department upon you until you are either bankrupt, in jail, or worse.

      It seems like surveillance state / police state is becoming a reality.

      • If one of these things is flying over YOUR PROPERTY are you allowed to blast it out of the sky?

        If the police are flying over your property in a police helicopter are you allowed to blast it out of the sky?

      • If one of these things is flying over YOUR PROPERTY are you allowed to blast it out of the sky?

        There is debate as to the ownership of airspace below 500 ft. Which is the minimum height that aircraft can flow over populated areas. The fact that they restrict it to below 400 ft. means that it is within the airspace that normally would be covered by property rights.

        Now, the reason I chose an Estes model rocket in my example is that it is legal to shoot them in the city. They travel at upwards of 1000ft a sec and can reach altitudes of over 3000ft. They require no notification or permission to fire. Thus

        • Having violated all but one of the safety codes (retrieving from power lines) I can say you are supposed to make sure the sky is clear before launching.

          Your going to want to launch a bunch of them to stand any chance.

    • "Member of slashdot terrorist organization involved in rocket terror attack on local police more at 11. Police say subject resisted arrest by repeatedly pepper spraying himself"

    • It would be easier, and much safer, to just get the same remote control unit, set to the same frequency, to override the controls and cause a crash. If you're not directly visible, it would be harder to identify the person responsible for the destruction of police property.

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        The most fun thing to do would be hunt it in the air. Have your own drone with a camera so you can fly it from an known location.

        Next you need to mount a couple short tubes on it with shotgun shells at the back. Replace the primers in the shells with something you can ignite electrically.

        Just get near enough and blasting the police drone out of the sky should be chicken shoot.

        • Soon as you put explosives on it, you're into felony territory. Likely the same as building a machine gun. 10 years federal.

          Dragging a streamer behind and accidentally leaving the wire leader too long on the other hand.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How are these "new" rules/permissions any different than what have already existed for hobby RC flight?

    Under 400 feet. Check.
    In sight of operator. Check.
    Daytime only. Check.(?)

    Being in contact with the control tower is a new requirement that has not been present for hobbyists in the past, that I am aware of.

    So, what's new/different about the po po vs prior rules?

    • Military Drone? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is an RC helicopter.

      The heli referenced in TFA is equivalent to the Align T-Rex 700 [heliproz.com]

      Hyperbole much?

    • Rules Of Evidence i would guess since a UAV can see stuff that would normally need a Warrent

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        Ah, but they won't use a Warrant. Already know of a county (Nearby Tarrant...) illegally using manned surveillance planes to "spot animal cruelty" from the air.

    • by PPH (736903)

      Hobby RC flight usually occurs in limited and well known areas. So people know where to expect RC aircraft. Likewise, this is why there is a control tower contact requirement. Because they intend to operate outside of these restricted areas, they need some way of notifying those responsible for airspace control of their presence.

      • That was true 20 years ago. These days look up 'park flyer'.

        Electric motors have changed everything in RC.

        AMA rules state a minimum distance from the nearest airport and 'clear sky' practices. Police heli comes into sight and everybody lands.

        I bet the cops aren't so good at following rules. Just a general observation.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-112publ95/pdf/PLAW-112publ95.pdf [gpo.gov]

      (a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law relating to the incorporation of unmanned aircraft systems into Federal Aviation Administration plans and policies, including this subtitle, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration may not promulgate any rule or regulation regarding a model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft, if— (1) the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use;

      So they had to get the FAA waiver, because it's not for hobby/recreational use.

  • by rodrigoandrade (713371) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:51AM (#43223203)

    R/C aircraft != UAV.

    See the 2nd link in the summary. The thing even has a RADIO!!!!!

    How many times does it have to be pointed out?????

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      UAV

      Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

      R/C aircraft - they're unmanned, aerial and a vehicle.

      Are you going to drone on and on about the differences?

    • Out of curiosity, what is the line that separates a UAV from a R/C? I mean, there are some R/Cs out there that are on steroids – and some really cheap UAV. Is it a subjective thing or is there a rule? (Is it like Horse vs. Pony. There are some hard rules, such as being under 14.2 hands and some subject rules – such as the Icelandic horse has always been called a horse, so it is a horse, even though it is under 14 hands.)

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        I think it's subjective, but IMO, something that qualifies as a UAV has at least some degree of automation to reduce pilot workload, and also IMO, if it's not able to operate without the operator in constant direct visual contact with the aircraft, it isn't a UAV.

        e.g. FPV R/C operation is right on what I personally consider the border between R/C and UAV. If the aircraft can automatically fly between a few waypoints but can't land/take off without pilot interaction, I firmly believe it's in UAV territory.

        A

        • by jon3k (691256)
          What definition of UAV are you using? It just stands for unmanned aerial vehicle. What part of that implies automation? A paper airplane is an unmanned aerial vehicle. But even with that said, I think you underestimate the amount of "automation" that's built into stabilizing these things inside the flight controller.
      • by Fnord666 (889225)

        Out of curiosity, what is the line that separates a UAV from a R/C? I mean, there are some R/Cs out there that are on steroids â" and some really cheap UAV. Is it a subjective thing or is there a rule? (Is it like Horse vs. Pony. There are some hard rules, such as being under 14.2 hands and some subject rules

        I don't believe there is a hard line between the two similar to the example you posted. My personal definition would be anything that operates outside of the limited boundaries that model airplane hobbyists are permitted would be a UAV. Similarly I would include an aircraft where the operator uses a POV from the aircraft for operation as a UAV.

      • Radio controlled aircraft used to be just hobby aircraft. But in the past few decades, military versions of UAV's have proven that they can be used for lethal purposes. With terrorism on the rise, and as the number and type of UAV's growing hugely (I mean, they will have unmanned full sized fighter planes soon, for real!), the US government has correctly decided to regulate UAV's. The hobby lobby (couldn't resist that), has done a stellar job working with the FAA in protecting the venue of the RC hobbyists.
      • by Alioth (221270)

        This thing in the article (the Avenger) is actually just a bog standard RC helicopter with some extra stuff added to the airframe. It really is not dissimilar to a typical pod-and-boom 3D RC helicopter like the T-Rex 700E.

        • The stock version's only got 5-9 minutes of run time. http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t645325p1/

      • by Warshadow (132109)

        To me it depends on what the aircraft is doing, who is operating it and so what the intention of the owner/operator is.

        UAV's and R/C planes both come in all shapes and sizes, so that doesn't have anything to do with it. The whole "all poodles are dogs, but not all dogs are poodles," thing.

        I'm a senior in aerospace engineering and our capstone project is to spend the year designing and then building a UAV for the US Coast Guard to be used in a variety of situations: search and rescue ops, patrolling harbors,

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Wrong. Of course it has a radio, how else would it communicate with the controller? The distinction people seem to be making between RC aircraft and UAVs is whether or not there is any autonomous features and a camera. This falls into the UAV category because it supports autonomous flight in that you can set a "mission" and it will follow it.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      UAV's have radios. That is how they communicate with their controller. In fact every time you shoot any kind of information through the air you are using a radio... Your cell phone has a radio. Your laptop has a radio. Your car as a radio. You should rethink how important a radio is as a feature demanding outrage.
    • by gravis777 (123605)

      Completely agree, although local newspapers and television stations have been using the word "drones" lately.

      All these are is unmanned, radio controlled helicopters pretty much, with cameras. It is basically a cost-cutting measure so that the Arlington Police Department doesn't have to lease time from the Fort Worth Police helicopters. The savings to the city is considerable.

      They have been test flying these lately. They look like any hobbiests Radio Controlled helicopters. Except they have cameras. And they

      • by sjames (1099)

        Actually, it can operate fairly autonomously, it's just that the FAA doesn't permit it. From the manufacturer's site [leptron.com]:

        With a simple flick of the autopilot toggle switch, the Avenger can be managed fully from the Ground Station Software. This quick conversion allows the helicopter to be managed in a full autonomous mode via the laptop or optionally attached Joystick.

    • by nanospook (521118)
      Oh Wow! My iPhone is a UAV? Too Cool dude!
    • If an R/C aircraft isn't a UAV what is? Even the Predator is pretty limited in terms of true autonomy.
  • Excuse me Mr. Government Guy, Mr. Reporter? I think I missed the part where you assured us that these drones wouldn't be armed. Or in some way acknowledged everyone's tacit reservations about using drones in civilian areas. *checks TFA again* yep, definitely missed that. If you could just append here.......and.....here....
  • given that i bet these are the Exact Same UAVs used in military contexts i put it no more than 5 years before "Less Than Lethal" ammo is normally loaded onto these.

  • "Pull!" *BOOM*
    Maybe it's time to revive the punt gun....;-)

  • The issue I have with all these complaints is it seems like the rule is this: According to Slashdot's readers, the police are allowed to do something if it's hard and expensive, but they're not allowed to do something if it's easy.

    For example, the police are allowed to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars secretly tailing Tony Soprano, seeing where he goes and who he meets with. However, they're NOT allowed to put a GPS on Tony's car to do exactly the same thing.

    The police are allowed to oper
    • That's because the effort required limits use of those technologies. All of our privacy laws and court rulings are based on contemporaneous limits of technology. Remember when police figured out a way to scan the interiors of houses with heat sensors to find pot growers? Law enforcement isn't going to deploy 24-7 helicopter surveillance, but with drones that becomes a distinct possibility.

      • That's because the effort required limits use of those technologies.

        What do you think about police having radios in their cars? Should they be using call-boxes on the corners instead? The efforts required limits the use of that technology to 'call in' someone acting suspiciously. What about the computers in police cars now? Should they pull them out? After all, the computer means the police officer can run a plate more easily to see if the car in front of them is stolen. What about DNA testing? Th

        • Did you read my post or just respond to the first sentence? Hell their cars could be fusion powered. That had no bearing on how my rights are infringed. Being able to xray scan my house does if that tech ever evolves.

          And, you're wrong because courts have already ruled that the ease of use of technology affects how much access law enforcement has to it. Sticking a GPS unit on my car is illegal without a warrant, but tailing me with a detective is not.

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      Not to mention that if I have a RC helicopter with a Canon Handycam bolted to it that I use to do aerial photography or surveying or something else not related to law enforcement, I am of course allowed to use it and passing a law saying I can't is a violation of my civil rights and personal freedom.
      • Not to mention that if I have a RC helicopter with a Canon Handycam bolted to it that I use to do aerial photography or surveying or something else not related to law enforcement, I am of course allowed to use it and passing a law saying I can't is a violation of my civil rights and personal freedom.

        If the Texas legislature has its way you WON'T be able to do what you are describing. There is a currently proposed bill to make hobby flying with a camera a crime [bitsaboutbytes.com]. For authoritarians, letting the police do it == good, letting the public do it == bad.

      • As soon as you use an RC aircraft for commercial purposes you are outside the FAA rules allowing it.

        That's why the oinkers need special permission.

    • Do you know how a lock keeps people out of your house? It makes it more difficult to get in. The more robust the lock, the more deterrent it is, therefore fewer people will try or be successful in breaking into your house. Same principle here. If something is difficult and expensive for the police to do, it will be used sparingly and only when really necessary. If it is cheap and easy they will do it a lot more.
      • Have you ever flown an RC helicopter? It's not all that easy. The easier ones add weights to help gyroscopically to stabilize flight. That particular RC copter only has a flight time of 4-7 minutes. http://rc.runryder.com/helicopter/t645325p1/ It would have been cheaper and better for them to get a quad copter that had a 15 minute flight time. The quad copter would probably be a little quieter too.

        It seems that someone got work to purchase a hobby toy for them in the name of using it for work. Whoeve

  • Does that include all citizens that the government currently does not know where they are and what they are doing, or just people actually on missing lists?

    And when it is scanning all those people looking for little lost Jullian, does it record who it saw where, and alert police if it sees a crime?

  • The military has been able to get away with operating drones in places like Afghanistan, because there are not very many people there who have sophisticated hacking ability. Since these drones are radio controlled flying computers, like every computer ever created by the mind of man, they too can be hacked and jammed. Any of these drones that depend on GPS data, could be made to fly who knows where until they run out of juice or fuel. Because GPS signals originate from satellites hundreds or even thousands

    • This drone is a fully-remote thing, so GPS wouldn't do it. If you jammed the control signal - which shouldn't be hard at all - then it'd probably crash into the ground or go flying off crazily until it hits something. At least it'll just go into hover mode, drifting slowly. This would certainly be illegal though: Even if it runs in an unlicensed spectrum, you'd need more power than you can legally transmit.

    • Except that, well, there's encrypted GPS channels intended to prevent spoofing(and increase accuracy), and while some of the video feeds were unencrypted on some models of UAV, the control lines are encrypted.

      Running a GPS spoofer on US Soil(where you have to worry about US Police) is likely to get you far too much attention from other parties.

      • Since when have hackers and other criminals ever worried about legal niceties? When a cheap unsophisticated drone that can be afforded by most police departments crashes, it will likely take them a while to figure out that it was due to hacking or interference with the control system.

        • by Firethorn (177587)

          Since when have hackers and other criminals ever worried about legal niceties?

          When their activities will lead the cops right too them? Federal cops? While I enjoy dumb criminal stories as much as anybody else, dumb criminals aren't typically sophisticated enough to make something capable of spoofing GPS.

          You construct something capable of spoofing a police drone enough that it crashes, you're going to cause a widespread disruption of civilian GPS sources, and that's what will provide enough evidence(along with various other logging/tracking systems) to build a very good idea of the

  • received authorization to start using drones

    From the article this link points to:

    Police are quick to emphasize that the 4- to 5-foot-long aircraft aren’t the same as military drones.

    “They’re unmanned aircraft,” Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said. “They aren’t military grade. They’re somewhere in between that and remote-control helicopters that are used recreationally.”

  • Hunting rifles will easily take these down, you have a 3 UAV limit per day.... Dont be a hog, let others have fun shooting them as well. The state will get more of them each month.

  • An autonomous EMP-armed drone; just have to get close enough...

    Down side: it will only justify accelerating the Police State. Same reason one can't (shouldn't) bring great justice to some truly scumbag governors (aka Koch Whores).

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