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  •  Re: Drones: "U.S. law enforcement is greatly... (16+ / 0-)

    expanding its use of domestic drones for surveillance... The ACLU noted: (emphasis mine)

    ...Rules must be put in place to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this new technology without bringing us closer to a “surveillance society” in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the government. Drone manufacturers are also considering offering police the option of arming these remote-controlled aircraft with (nonlethal for now) weapons like rubber bullets, Tasers, and tear gas...
    Read the ACLU’s full report on domestic drones here.
    In short, all the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial surveillance in American life—a development that would profoundly change the character of public life in America...

    Aerial surveillance from manned aircraft has been
    with us for decades...but manned aircraft are expensive...and this expense has always imposed a natural limit on the government’s aerial surveillance capability. Now that surveillance can be carried out by unmanned aircraft, this natural limit is eroding...

    Types of drones include:  
    ...Large fixed-wing aircraft...Small fixed-wing aircraft...Backpack craft...Hummingbirds...Blimps...and Satellites...

    Drone Capabilities include:

    ...Drone capabilities—today and in the future: The military and law enforcement are keenly interested in
    developing small drones, which have the advantages of being versatile, cheap to buy and maintain, and in some cases so small and quiet that they will escape notice...

    ...See-through imaging. The military is developing radar technologies that can see through ceilings and walls and allow the tracking of human targets even when they are inside buildings...

    Law Enforcement (local and federal) across the country has been using drones for surveillance:  
    ...The police department in rural Mesa County, Colorado won FAA permission in early 2011 to operate its
    Draganflyer drones anywhere in the county...

    The Los Angeles Times reported in December 2011 that CBP has been making its Predator drones available for domestic law enforcement operations by local police departments, and federal agencies such as the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have used Predators inside the United States as well. This expanded use of the Predators was carried out with no public knowledge or debate...

    The FAA has been "under increasing pressure" to loosen their rules to allow expansion of use of drones:  
    ...the FAA is coming under increasing pressure from industry and its allies in Congress, as well as law enforcement agencies, to open the skies to UAVs...

    ...Aerospace companies are looking beyond Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan and see a potentially lucrative domestic market for their technology..

    ...Pressure is also coming from states; for example Oklahoma, hoping to help retain and attract aerospace businesses, is pushing to create an 80-mile corridor where drones could fly without specific FAA permission...

    What could possibly go wrong?
    Mission creep...New uses...

    The use of drones could also be expanded from surveillance to actual intervention in law enforcement situations on the ground. Airborne technologies could be developed that could, for example, be used to control or dispel protesters (perhaps by deploying tear gas or other technologies), stop a fleeing vehicle, or even deploy weapons...

    Even if drones are "only" used for surveillance, what effects could this have on people?
    ...Psychologists have repeatedly found that people who are being observed tend to behave differently, and make different decisions, than when they are not being watched...

    Not to mention the fact that:  

    Video surveillance is susceptible to individual abuse, including voyeurism...

    Discriminatory targeting...

    ..Institutional abuse. In addition to abuse by the inevitable “bad apples” within law enforcement, there is also the danger of institutional abuse...

    •  Remember when Iran (5+ / 0-)

      cracked the operating frequency of a drone in their airspace and landed it? What would stop people in America for doing the same thing? Or just taking control and crashing some drones into police and news helicopters? Or using them to spy on the police? Better yet, people using their own drones and bug-bugs to keep close tabs on police and politicians, then publishing all the dirty details on the Intertoobs!

      These are RF control technologies, anybody can buy remote controlled aircraft (and directional microphones, and tiny little spy cameras, and little insectoid robotic thingies...) at Radio Shack. Government may 'reserve' frequencies to itself, but it's got no real ability to keep people with their own RF control technologies out of the frequency...

      I'm of the opinion that government spying on peaceful citizens not suspected or accused of any crimes should be as prohibitively expensive as possible. That forces them to target much more specifically and leave the rest of us alone. Which is just how it should be.

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