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Government Privacy United States Technology

VA Governor Wants Military Drones For Police 183

New submitter Screen404-O writes "During a radio interview, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell suggested that using unmanned drones to assist police would be 'great' and 'the right thing to do.' 'Increased safety and reduced manpower are among the reasons the U.S. military and intelligence community use drones on the battlefield, which is why it should be considered in Virginia, he says. ... McDonnell added Tuesday it will prove important to ensure the state maintains Americans' civil liberties, such as privacy, if it adds drones to its law enforcement arsenal.' Is this the next step toward militarizing our law enforcement agencies? How exactly can they ensure our privacy, when even the Air Force can't?"
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VA Governor Wants Military Drones For Police

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  • Papers please (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chadenright ( 1344231 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:19PM (#40160553) Journal
    So, do they want them for the ability to conduct unmanned remote assassinations? Or do they think the drones are going to be able to give speeding and parking tickets?
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:27PM (#40160671) Homepage

    I want public Video cameras all over the VA governors mansion and private home.

    He can have the drones as soon as he let's us install tons of cameras all over in his home that allow anyone to watch him.

    If he is against it, what is he hiding?

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:32PM (#40160737)

    Cameras can do the same job, are much cheaper, don't need supervision and can be set up not to be intrusive. A policeman controlling a drone that's patrolling an area could just as well get on his bike and do the patrol himself.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @05:38PM (#40160799)

    There are 2 big issues here that the politicians need to start considering, much more than they have been:

    (1) The fact that a certain technology CAN be used, and might even represent monetary savings, is largely a different question that whether it SHOULD be used.

    (2) That improved technology works both ways: not only do you have the ability to move surveillance to the sky, but also: civilians have drastically improved ability to bring it down. And strong motivation to do so.
  • Re:Papers please (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @06:08PM (#40161125)

    #Other states
    I'd agree.

    Traffic Enforcement. If you report a rape, you might as well play Monopoly to pass the time. If you report a guy in a red sport compact doing 5 over, the VSP practically teleport there.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @06:26PM (#40161291)

    The main thing I could see them making sense for is replacing helicopters for following suspects if on a chase (a drone would be a lot cheaper and you could have a few engaged). But there are of other valid peaceful governmental uses of drones:

    * Surveying the city. You could use them to get an idea of what areas of town needed more work than others. You could do weekly flyovers just to see if streetlights were out in an area. You could build up a highly detailed aerial map of your city/county/state and then let the people make use of that data to make cool mapping products.

    * Work in tandem with other sensors to get video on an area where needed ASAP. Video of traffic accidents moments after they occur (or any sudden drop in traffic speed). Video of an area where gunshot detectors picked up shots.

    I don't at all understand the concern over drones, they are simply cameras that are more mobile than traditional surveillance cameras. Are people concerned with drones also concerned that police cars have cameras in them?

    Obviously if you included weapons on the drones that's a whole different matter, but I've not heard anyone say they are considering weaponizing them.

  • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @07:19PM (#40161837)
    How's this for an idea?

    The first cunt we fly one of these things up should be the Governor himself.
  • Re:Papers please (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RightwingNutjob ( 1302813 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @08:25PM (#40162385)
    Interesting. Do you take shots at stationary security cameras as well?

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain