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Drones, Dogs and the Future of Privacy 106

An anonymous reader writes "Stanford's Ryan Calo has previously told us that 'that there is very little in American privacy law that would prohibit drone surveillance within our borders.' But will UAVs not only be legally permitted to monitor us in public, but also be used to 'peer' into homes with high-tech thermal and chemical sensors and alert police to the presence of illicit substances or other suspicious activity? Calo writes in Wired about a pending Supreme Court case, Florida v. Jardines, which will determine 'whether the police need a warrant before a dog can sniff your house' like they already do to luggage at airports. According to Calo, if the Court approves of these searches, it's a small leap to extend that same logic to the use of drones, allowing them 'to roam a neighborhood in search of invisible infractions such as indoor marijuana.' He concludes: 'The wrong decision in Jardines makes this and similar surveillance scenarios uncomfortably plausible.'"
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Drones, Dogs and the Future of Privacy

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  • by BlindRobin ( 768267 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @09:58AM (#39311157)

    The right to privacy is not explicit in the constitution but a long held extended interpretation of the fourth amendment prohibition against illegal search and seizure. Laws regarding privacy are, at this point in time, undergoing a great deal of challenge and re-interpretation in state and federal courts. This is not a done deal, the law never is. The Patriot Act and similar less publicized legislation have already eroded this presumptive right and state legislatures around the country are pushing bills targeting privacy issues in the pursuit of various ideological agenda with increasing frequency.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @10:05AM (#39311191) Journal

    That won't stop them from trying. This Supreme Court has flagrantly ignored the actual text of the bill of rights in the past, I'll be surprised if they have any trouble ignoring implicitly granted rights as well.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @11:05AM (#39311501)
    More like, "The same group of rights-hating cops who fly helicopters over my house looking for marijuana now want to fly quieter, cheaper drones." Anything that makes violations of our civil rights -- a category which should include the war on drugs as a whole -- easier, cheaper, or in any way more efficient is a bad thing. Constitutional protections have done little to protect people from being charged with drug law violations over feral hemp growing on their land: []

    Or worse still, being killed for no reason at all: []
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @12:17PM (#39311943)

    On the other hand, if you feel that 'big brother' is silently watching your every move, then you must have a huge ego.

    I find this statement to be pretty interesting. Google certainly does monitor all the email you send, for advertising purposes (but will fork it over when law enforcement presents a court order). Facebook monitors even more details of most people's lives, and is not going to take a stand against government requests for information. Big brother is watching everyone; the government just has not figured out how best to use the flood of information to its advantage (and the friendly relationship between the government and corporations makes it hard to distinguish between corporate invasions of privacy and government invasions).

    Even totalitarian states do not take action on every single piece of information that they are aware of. The point of governments collecting information on citizens is not to target everyone, it is to maintain government power by spotting potential dissidents before their movements grow to "dangerous" sizes. The struggle for privacy is a struggle for power; privacy rights are fundamental to individual empowerment and democracy.

    So is big brother going to come after you because of your secret affair? Of course not. Is big brother going to release information about your secret affair when you start talking about changing the social order, reducing political corruption, or working for the benefit of the common people? It is not unthinkable that such a thing could happen.

  • by ancient_kings ( 1000970 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @01:03PM (#39312247)
    So what?! The constitution is utterly, and completely meaningless nowadays. The point is the police will continue to break the law as there are zero repercussions against them. Heck, they may even get a vacation (paid leave) if found "guilty". Seriously, who WON'T break the law to get free paid vacations all the time? Its human nature. What needs to be done is to throw these "cops" into jail for a very long time, and I'm not talking about champagne cop jail, but the real deal along with the rest of prison population.
  • by QRDeNameland ( 873957 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @02:27PM (#39312857)

    On the other hand, if you feel that 'big brother' is silently watching your every move, then you must have a huge ego.

    You don't need to be personally paranoid to realize that the worry is not necessarily constant active surveillance by 'big brother', rather that by making virtually every facet of your life recordable, the authorities will now have the ultimate version of Cardinal Richelieu's proverbial "six lines written by the most honorable of men". I don't think anyone is watching me nor would they have any reason to, but I can honestly say the way things are going would make me far less likely to, for example, become publicly active in a controversial political cause.

  • by GmExtremacy ( 2579091 ) on Saturday March 10, 2012 @03:33PM (#39313259)

    The issue is not the privacy of the surveyed

    I think that's a big problem.

    On the other hand, if you feel that 'big brother' is silently watching your every move, then you must have a huge ego.

    More like the government could be watching your every move. Or someone else's moves. I don't only care about myself, you know.

    I care about privacy not only because I and many others enjoy it, but because it helps keep corrupt governments from suddenly creating ridiculous laws to criminalize previously innocent citizens. If they could watch everyone, then it gives them the ability to easily see whether someone is doing something that they recently declared illegal and enables them to silence dissenters far more easily.

    But of course, my country's government would never do that! Out of all the corrupt governments throughout history, mine is special and cannot be corrupted!

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"