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Government Privacy Your Rights Online

San Jose Police Apologize For Hiding Drone Program, Halts Until Further Review 59

Posted by timothy
from the no-department dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes As part of MuckRock's Drone Census, the San Jose Police twice denied having a drone in public records requests — until the same investigation turned up not only a signed bid for a drone but also a federal grant giving them money for it. Now, almost a full year after first denying they had a drone, the department has come clean and apologized for hiding the program, promising more transparency and to pursue federal approval for the program, which the police department had, internally, claimed immunity from previously.
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San Jose Police Apologize For Hiding Drone Program, Halts Until Further Review

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  • Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @05:26PM (#47618015)

    People should be going to prison for such deceit. We don't hold our officials accountable.

  • Not an apology (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcrb (187104) <jcrb@y[ ] ['aho' in gap]> on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @05:33PM (#47618071) Homepage

    They make no mention of having been clearly non-responsive to the FOI request. The FOI asked for "Acquisition documents" that they hadn't got one yet doesn't get them out from having been trying to get one. And the excuse of "well we didn't know what the other department was doing" fails, the whole point of a FOI request is for them to find out of someone has the documents in any of their departments. The real problem is that these FOI laws lack meaningful penalties for failure to properly respond so no one ever does.

  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @05:58PM (#47618243)

    I love these USofA stories where people are caught lying and then nothing changes.
    Next a lot of people say how this should not be allowed and is even illegal and nothing changes.
    Later some people will quote the consititution and then finaly nothing happens at all.
    Perhaps some likes on facepalm or an octothorpe [] will do something.

    Anybody working with kids or dogs knows that unless there are consequenses for bad behaviour, the bad behaviour will not change. Instead it will become more persistant.

    PS, if you clicked the link, hand in your geek card.

  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:01PM (#47618255)
    Blah, blah, more transparency...sorry, really can trust us now for sure!

    If I lied to the government twice during an official inquiry, I would be shoveling money into my lawyer's pockets to mitigate the damage.

    Hats off to the police. It's a thankless job, that doesn't pay enough, that I wouldn't want to do even if it paid the salary of a Wall Street Banker. But goddamn, you don't get to be above the law when you're tasked to enforce it. Especially when you're tasked to enforce it.

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Loopy (41728) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:05PM (#47618273) Journal

    "We're sorry we got caught. Consider us chastised. It'll never happen again. Honest. For real this time."

  • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:15PM (#47618313)

    People should be going to prison for such deceit. We don't hold our officials accountable.

    This is not the first time that SJPD has been caught doing things like this. They were caught using Stingrays [] to monitor cellphones. As with the drones, the Stingrays were paid for with federal money, bypassing local control and oversight.

    Just saying "sorry" should not be enough, especially after repeated occurrences of the same deceitful behavior.


  • Re:Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @06:43PM (#47618465)

    Why do these people lie to start with? It's their default. It's almost as if they thought we, the citizens and taxpayers, are the enemy.

    When there are absolutely no consequences, why not? If there were real consequences for this carp, it would stop. (Something other than a pension and a book deal.)

  • by mcl630 (1839996) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @07:14PM (#47618695)

    Yep... if they had been forthright about what they were buying and why in the first place, there likely wouldn't be any controversy here. The controversy is that they lied about it.

  • Re:Not good enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday August 06, 2014 @08:29PM (#47619189)

    So the first thing you'd need to do is convince the federal prosecutors to go after the problem, which is very unlikely since they're part of the same Good-Ol'-Boys Network.

    Very true. The Feds are the root of the problem. The justice dept provides money for drones, Stingrays, and armored vehicles for controlling pumpkin festivals [], through direct police-to-police channels, bypassing the citizens and our elected representatives. Then they can later use these same anti-democratic back-channels to call in favors when they want information or cooperation from local police. It is ridiculous to think that the justice dept will prosecute people for participating in a justice dept program in exactly the way that it was designed to operate.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux