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Domestic Surveillance Drones On the Rise 96

Toe, The writes "Predator drones have now racked up over 10,000 hours of airtime in the U.S., largely for immigration enforcement. Homeland Security reports that drone operations lead to the apprehension of 4,865 undocumented immigrants and 238 drug smugglers in the past six years. Compare that to 327,577 illegal migrants caught at the southwest border in fiscal 2011. The only limits on their surveillance are FAA regulations keeping them away from crowded urban areas, and this is for safety reasons, not privacy. While the drones cannot see through windows, they certainly see a lot of what goes on in the (former) privacy of peoples' yards. The article cites Michael Kostelnik from the Office of Air and Marine for the Border Protection service saying he's never been challenged in Congress about the appropriate use of domestic drones. 'Instead the question is: Why can't we have more of them in my district?'"
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Domestic Surveillance Drones On the Rise

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  • Re:Led (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kadagan AU ( 638260 ) <kadagan@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @05:28PM (#38453324) Journal
    While we're correcting them, they're not "undocumented immigrants", they're illegal immigrants.
  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @05:33PM (#38453394)

    It actually makes a lot more sense to produce drugs locally, except we could also legalize it and completely eliminate the violent crime aspect.

  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @05:37PM (#38453480)

    I'm guessing I'm a few years older than you, because the thought that's been occurring to me lately is that our nation does pretty much every single thing that was used as an argument as to why the Soviet Union was evil:

    - Political and economic based prison systems.
    - Torture.
    - Wars of aggression.
    - Spying on our own people.
    - Freedoms stripped away unless you were already in an established position of power.
    - Propaganda media.
    - Secrets, secrets, secrets.
    - Censorship.
    - Not taking care of the needs of the people while an elite class skims everything worth skimming.
    - Diminishing rights over time.

    The list goes and on....

  • Re:Led (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @06:18PM (#38453988) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps, perhaps not.

    1. There may well be people who have US citizenship (and therefore be entirely legal) who have no documentation to prove it (and thus be undocumented). I'm not going to pretend that this would be a large number, but if there is even one such person then they are an undocumented immigrant not an illegal immigrant. This would include US legitimate tourists who have been robbed, people born out of the country with at least one legitimate US parent, etc. The former can apply to the consulate, but that assumes they're rational. Rational people are an endangered species. The latter may or may not have access to the consulate, even if theory says they should have.

    2. In the US (not sure about your country), a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Well, that's the theory, at least. Legal doctrine therefore states these people -cannot- be "illegal immigrants" until proven such. In part, this is due to (1), but it's also because you don't want some mad Arizonian sheriff arresting anyone who "looks funny" and deporting them without lawful right to do so. And, no, saying someone "looks funny" is not a lawful right.

    3. Once a person is at a detention centre, there is NO evidence of where they were arrested. There are corrupt police - hopefully not many, but it's definitely non-zero. It would not take much to take a lawful US citizen from within the US and make it appear like they're illegally there, especially if said citizen has no documentation on them (ie: they're undocumented). It's entirely plausible for police to eliminate homelessness by dumping the homeless over the border, and for hospitals to eliminate mental illness the same way. (You've seen the stories on hospitals dumping patients in skid row.) These would not be illegals, these would be undocumenteds.

    I cannot tell from a police report or a media photo whether the person was legally entitled to be in the US. Nor can you. Nor can anyone. That is why we have courts. Judge without knowledge at your peril, because it is inevitable that when a society converts a potential for a crime into a crime in itself, you WILL be judged without knowledge yourself. And that's a path that goes downhill FAST.

    (Most of those who are passionate about convicting without prosecuting would do well to remember that the road to hell is paved with "good intentions" -- not intentions that are actually good, merely intentions you can fool yourselves into believing are good.)

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @06:28PM (#38454084)

    Yes and the chip foundries engage in bloody turf wars over who get to supply Apple with the next batch of A5 chips.

    You are completely missing the point. Legalizing drugs isn't to get production local. It is to neuter the criminal organizations that currently control drug production and distribution.

  • by frank_adrian314159 ( 469671 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:01PM (#38454430) Homepage

    The collapse of the party oligarchy in the Soviet Union only brought about the rise of a new criminal-based oligarchy (many of whose members were also members of the original oligarchy). Why do you think things would be different here?

  • Re:ROI (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hguorbray ( 967940 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:09PM (#38454496)
    yeah -but they will have paid for themselves when they become armed and are used to put down pro-democracy, erm terrorist protests that rent-a-cops are too squeamish or outnumbered to do in order to save the corporate republic...with liberty and justice for some...corporations

    -I'm just sayin'
  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:19PM (#38454566)
    Didn't ANYBODY but me notice this? That the drones are apparently hangared -- and more importantly flown from -- a naval base?

    The military has absolutely no place being involved in any kind of domestic surveillance at all. This is by far the MOST worrisome aspect of the whole thing! Yet nobody else yet has even mentioned it.

    Slashdot, what has happened to you?
  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Wednesday December 21, 2011 @07:33PM (#38454698)

    Many of them did.

    Many of them lost the majority of their income and power (at least until they could expand into drug distribution).

    And a very few of them realized that they could still profit by playing inside the law and dropped their other criminal activities.

    In any case it dramatically reduced their power and influence.

I've got a bad feeling about this.