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Government Privacy United States Your Rights Online

Domestic Surveillance Drones Could Spur Tougher Privacy Laws 209

An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever been spied on by a surveillance drone? No? Are you sure? Maybe it looked like a hummingbird. Or an insect. Or maybe it was just really high up. Maybe there's one looking in your window right now, and if so, there's no law that says it shouldn't. In a recent article in the Stanford Law Review, Ryan Calo discusses how domestic surveillance drones would fit into the current legal definitions of privacy (and violations thereof), and how these issues could inform the future of privacy policy. The nutshell? Surveillance robots have the potential to fundamentally degrade privacy to such an extent that they could serve as a catalyst for reform."
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Domestic Surveillance Drones Could Spur Tougher Privacy Laws

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  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:02PM (#38426146)

    That's the way it's been seeming, however, the 2nd article talks about something that is a little more constant, and that's the "tipping point". That's when the government is forced into reform by enough angry people that the officials cannot be elected again w/o reform. It's a shame it has to come to that though, and part of the issue is the government being so bogged down, the proper people may not even be aware that robots can be used in such a way, or that the local police has flying helicopter drones. There's a huge disconnect in the government when it comes to technology and they are not only trying to catch up in privacy, but in usability too. Just because they have helicopter drones doesn't mean they ever intended to spy on your average citizen, technology came before the laws, make sense? I think it's a bigger statement to the inefficiency of the government, and a lot less to malevolent intent. There's a lot better things to bash the government for, like SOPA.

  • Re:Sounds like FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SirGarlon ( 845873 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:10PM (#38426250)
    I believe the approach authoritarians use to justify new surveillance powers is to split hairs about the applicability of existing law. They make sophist arguments such as: wiretapping laws were written for switched-telephone lines and don't apply to packet-switched VoIP; the Fourth Amendment protects citizens' "papers" but electronic data such as e-mail are not "papers." So I think there is reason to be concerned that a court may rule surveillance drones are not constrained by existing statues.
  • Re:Sounds like FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:12PM (#38426268)

    And if it's just patrolling, how is that any different than a cop walking his beat?

    Do cops frequently flap their wings and fly through the air when they are out on patrol? This is yet another increase in the power of the police, at a time when the United States imprisons more people than any country in the entire world. This is not a question of FUD, it is a matter of whether or not giving the police even more power is a wise thing to do right now; those of us who still desperately cling to the idea that we have rights would say that no, this is not a good time for the police to be getting more power.

  • Moxie Says Dogfight (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loteck ( 533317 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:18PM (#38426342) Homepage
    In his interview, Moxie suggested building your own flying device [] to "engage" theirs. As far as aerial engagement goes, I can only interpret that to mean he suggests we take the fight to the air.
  • Re:Sounds like FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:48PM (#38426698)

    There is no legal problem with having cops walking 100% of the legally public beats 100% of the time. Economically, though, there just aren't enough cops to do that. In practice, one of the major protections from the state historically enjoyed by most people is not law; but simple lack of resources.

    Yes, but many, if not most Americans don't seem to know or care why you don't want 100% police coverage. There are two problems they don't realize. 1) Most people break a law or two every waking hour. 2) With any test, there will be a false positive rate.

    What if each and every time you went 56 mph in a 55 you got a ticket? Did you share your wife's prescription allegra because yours ran out? Is it even possible for any citizen to even know every law that might apply to them?

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday December 19, 2011 @04:50PM (#38426722)

    People are generally good, when they are accountable, when they think none are looking or nobody will ever know it was them the results are often tragic.

    I'm not sure that counts as "good". More like "people just don't want to get caught".

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.