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Electronic Frontier Foundation Government Privacy United States

Who's Flying Those Drones? FAA Won't Say 405

netbuzz writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation nine months ago filed a Freedom of Information Act request to prompt the FAA to release the names of government agencies and private entities that have received permission to fly unmanned aircraft over our heads. Nine months later, the FAA has neither released the information nor explained why it hasn't. On Tuesday the EFF filed suit (PDF) to force the agency to do so. Says EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch: 'Drones give the government and other unmanned aircraft operators a powerful new surveillance tool to gather extensive and intrusive data on Americans' movements and activities. As the government begins to make policy decisions about the use of these aircraft, the public needs to know more about how and why these drones are being used to surveil United States citizens.'"
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Who's Flying Those Drones? FAA Won't Say

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  • by realsilly ( 186931 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:22PM (#38665678)

    Surveillance on US Citizens is wrong, but we the people have let our politicians rule over us and we gave them permission to do this. We constantly re-elect the same political individuals who have systematically stripped our rights away from the citizens of this country all in the name of "they know what's good for us". Well once those drones are taken down, that's when the FAA will try to step out of the picture and the owners who have to replace these (at taxpayer expense mind you) will come a hootin' and hollerin' claiming they need more Federal $ from the budget office to replace their drones.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:27PM (#38665714)

    It is not reasonable for a police officer to watch your door, 24x7... unless there's been a warrant issued.

    While there may be no expectation of "privacy", it's not the same thing as expecting the State is constantly watching.

    Not the same thing at all.

  • by sidthegeek ( 626567 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:42PM (#38665878)
    And you don't understand sarcasm.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:45PM (#38665922)

    Hello, former sensor guy here.
    No, they are very rarely detectable from the ground. Look at how efficient the exhaust system on a prius is at reducing acoustic signatures. Now put that on a plane that's blue-gray and 16000 feet over you and smaller than a cessna (in fuselage size).

    Barely ever spotted unless deliberately flying low.

  • by H0p313ss ( 811249 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @02:53PM (#38666022)

    I would have guessed at Occupy Wall Street since the media seems to be obsessed by it and it's constantly in the news.

  • Re:US = (Score:4, Informative)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:18PM (#38667084)
    So yes, nobody in China has been arrested for googling "free tibet". Even censored, the attempt to google it will be logged. The laws are on the books to use against people found "undesirable" (much like in the US, anyone can be arrested at almost any time, under the guise of, say, failing a field sobriety test (objective and unverifiable). All it takes is someone in real power who doesn't like you and your life as you know it is over. At least in China, you have a good idea of what it takes to become disappeared, unlike the US, which has assassinated US citizens without so much as a formal charge being laid against them. We aren't as bad as China, we are worse. At least in China you get accused before they come for you (or they tell you what you did as they shoot you - in the US, they kill you first, then accuse you in the media of being a traitor and terrorist without any formal legal charges at all). Presumed guilty is the current legal standard.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:18PM (#38667762)

    In any case, members of the US military swear an oath to defend the Constitution. Asking the US Military to "take out" American citizens would likely incite a civil war;

    No, it barely got noticed in the news.

    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/09/30/did-obama-just-assassinate-a-u-s-citizen-aulaqi-killing-raises-questions-over-presidential-powers/ [jonathanturley.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:28PM (#38668456)

    We are bringing the troops home now because that is what BUSH agreed to years ago......

    In 2008, the US and Iraqi government signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement which implments that all US forces would withdraw from Iraqi cities by 30 June 2009 and that All US Forces would be mandated to withdraw from Iraqi territory by 31 December 2011 under the terms of a bilateral agreement.
    On 14 December 2008, then-U.S. President George W. Bush signed the security pact with Iraq. In his fourth and final trip to Iraq, the president appeared with Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and said more work is to be done.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.