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Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement 299

PatPending writes "Aerial drones are now used by the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; the Miami-Dade County, Florida, Police Department; and the Department of Homeland Security. But what about privacy concerns? 'Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance,' said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. 'We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people.'"
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Domestic Use of Aerial Drones By Law Enforcement

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  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:07AM (#34980086)
    But its ok for Google?
  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:08AM (#34980092) Homepage

    A budget shortfall as high as $25 billion is projected as lawmakers head into the 2011 legislative session,

    Nice to know they have money to burn to spy on me...

  • by Petbe ( 1790948 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:14AM (#34980128)
    So long as the drones are used to create only hatcheries and no sunken colonies, I will be ok. But in all seriousness, I do believe that the aerial drones can play a vital role to Law Enforcement. So long as they are quite secure (so not to be used by a third party) and that they have enough red tape in their use so at least minimize abuse, I am all for them. I will not be so idealistic in believing that there would be enough regulation in their uses that their will be absolutely zero abuses. I hate to be a consequentialist, but I think their uses outweigh the potential harm in some people's liberties. Granted, it is a slipper slope. But for me, I do realize that nothing in life is free. With freedom comes responsibility, and with protection comes restrictions on said freedoms freedoms. There is no perfect balance, nor is is perfect with either extreme. Just hope it is regulated enough to where it creates some form of balance.
  • by ThunderBird89 ( 1293256 ) <> on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:15AM (#34980134)

    If you can make out the details so you know it's a drone, it's probably close enough for the field of an EPFCG to fry it. Not that I'd condone that sort of thing, just sayin'...

  • by Algorithmnast ( 1105517 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @09:33AM (#34980224)

    Hopefully the parent will get modded up for humor. But if taken seriously, it's still a good segue into useful discussion.

    It'd be pretty easy to land in jail for that, as well. The "fried tech" would establish a radius, and therefore a center. And while you can try to do a covert op and put it in a box that's remote-controlled (blah, blah, blah, etc, etc, etc), it's amazing how good government forensics can get when you've actually annoyed the government.

    It would seem to be one way to get labeled with the terrier-ist word...

    Plus - have you considered what such a stunt would do for our individual "rights"? The Supreme Court has already declared that when you're in public spaces (including outside a building) you have no expectation of not being recorded both visually and audibly.

  • by Cytotoxic ( 245301 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @10:08AM (#34980538)

    Funny you should mention that [] - in this case the person arrested was trying to file a complaint about police misconduct and ran into a bureaucratic wall, so she recorded her final attempt on her blackberry. Many months later they are still starting their investigation into the police misconduct, but they wasted no time in getting her arrested and charged for making the recording.

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @10:30AM (#34980722)

    Well they expect to raise $50 billion from the new $5000 "untidy yard" fine that will automatically be added to people's property tax when the drone starts taking pictures of people's yards.

    In Henrico county, in VA, they have an ordanace that says you can't use inside furniture outside of your home. The idea is apparently to stop people putting couches on the front porch. However a local couple got into trouble for having a bathtub in their backyard used as a planter. I believe it was not visible from the street, and the pics I saw showed that it was very nicely done (not a rusted out heap used as a planter by default). They ended up in court over this. So your joke is not very far from reality

  • How low can it fly? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Monday January 24, 2011 @10:58AM (#34980998)

    I wonder what would be the minimum legal height at which one can fly.

    If a plane goes twenty thousand feet above your property, that seems to be perfectly legal. If one of those drones flies two feet above your property that seems like trespassing to me.

    Is there some minimum height agt which an aircraft must fly over private property without authorization from the owner?

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