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Yes unmanned aircraft that are used to record still and video images. There are also drones made that can fire various weaponry.

Feel Safer yet?

usa watch out 4th amendment

The authority revealed the information after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Its website hosts an interactive map that allows the user to zoom in to the area around where they live to see if any sites are nearby.

However, the FAA is yet to reveal what kinds of drones might be based at any of these locations.

The agency says it will release this data later.

Most of the drones are likely to be small craft, such as the Draganflyer X8, which can carry a payload of only 2.2lb.

Police, border patrols and environmental agencies, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), could use for them effectively.

While few would object to vast open areas being monitored for wildfires, there are fears of privacy violations if drones are used to spy over cities.

Some of the entities on the COA list are unsurprising. For example, journalists have reported that Customs and Border Protection uses Predator drones to patrol the borders. It is also well known that DARPA and other branches of the military are authorized to fly drones in the US. However, this is the first time we have seen the broad and varied list of other authorized organizations, including universities, police departments, and small towns and counties across the United States. The COA list includes universities and colleges like Cornell, the University of Colorado, Georgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, as well as police departments in North Little Rock, Arkansas; Arlington, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Gadsden, Alabama; and Ogden, Utah, to name just a few. The COA list also includes small cities and counties like Otter Tail, Minnesota and Herington, Kansas. The Google map linked above plots out the locations we were able to determine from the lists, and is color coded by whether the authorizations are active, expired or disapproved.  
Lockheed D-21B UAV

They have not received any indications of the models being used from each location despite asking with FOIA requests for that information.

I would like to know if my local police have armed drones. Wouldn't you?

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
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Comment Preferences

  •  I could see Rahmbo using recycled D-21... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Horace Boothroyd III

    ...drones. He'd randomly terrorize Chicago with sonic booms. I might point out that they were originally designed to be expendable, and carried cameras only.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:47:09 PM PDT

  •  It looks like (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, SuWho

    most of the drone bases are in red states. I wonder why.

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:48:05 PM PDT

  •  Army has Helicopters, Police have helicopters... (9+ / 0-)

    ...even my local news channels have helicopters.

    Since helicopters in Afghanistan are used to hunt and kill insurgents, I'd like to know whether or not the local CBS affiliate's news chopper is armed with rocket pods and a chaingun.

    Follow Me on Twitter!!/TarantinoDork

    by TarantinoDork on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:48:06 PM PDT

  •  Mmhmm (3+ / 0-)
    As an attempted solution, the pressure to ensure that nothing happens, together with police surveillance of the territory, will only intensify. The unmanned drone that flew over Seine-Saint-Denis last July 14th – as the police later confirmed – presents a much more vivid image of the future than all the fuzzy humanistic projections. That they were careful to assure us that the drone was unarmed gives us a clear indication of the road we’re headed down.
    From "The Coming Insurrection".

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:55:20 PM PDT

  •  The majority of 'civilian' applications under COA (9+ / 0-)

    won't be to use armed drones.  To suggest otherwise,  is overstating things, perhaps to the point of chicken-little alarmist.

    There are many universities with civilian drone development programs as part of engineering science programs.  Some of what they do gets translated into DARPA projects and may receive DARPA seed funding.  Others may lead to more civilian applications.  Many research projects, theses and papers will be written and published with this work.  

    There are many field data gathering applications for small UAVs, including crop infestations, forest fires, flooding, monitoring very large farms and other large territories that would otherwise require over flight by an human pilot.  The majority of actual usages within our borders will be gathering data, visual and infrared spectrums, atmospheric conditions, perhaps searching for marijuana patches.  I don't expect Deputy Barney to be launching a predator to take out a suspected county drug store terrorist.

    Operating a drone in commercial air space would require specific FAA approvals, collision avoidance technology, pilot's license, and meet operating standards, keep maintenance logs and other details. Otherwise, small drones are treated like remote control airplanes and can't be legally be flown higher than 500'.  The larger drones require ground support vehicles with sophisticated tracking equipment and have redundant equipment, and trained staff to operate them as well as a qualified FAA licensed pilot, and they have to work with the local air traffic control towers, and have flight plans.

    The type of drone that would be armed and meeting military specs is going to fly quite high and not typically be visible to those of us on the ground.  Supersonic shells or missiles, if fired, would likely hit a target before any other audiovisual clue is picked up. Most of the smaller surveillance drones would be hard to see or hear if they are approved to fly above 500'. My point is, it would be hard for the curious ciitizen to visually confirm specific UAV models and missions unless you can see them taking off, landing or when stored and gain access to the mission information.  Revealing the existence and locations of armed drones based on US soil in secret would likely be deemed an act of treason.  There are some known bases for the large scale Predator and other classes of armed drones.

    When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

    by antirove on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 09:17:38 PM PDT

  •  How to get a handle on the drone situation: (4+ / 0-)

    If you want to spot drones, there is no substitute for having a large number of combined still and video cameras mounted on buildings, pointed at the sky, and recording any time they see something move.   Then have the cameras automatically upload to a site where the photos can be knit together into a seamless picture of the sky.  Think of it as Google Earth in reverse.  

    So how are we going to encourage people to participate in something like this?

    Well, there are plenty of things in the sky that people find interesting:

    Storms & weather.  Particularly in tornado-prone regions, a network like this can spot conditions in which tornados are likely to arise, and then be marshaled to provide realtime surveillance of the sky to spot actual tornados in progress.  These cameras may also get some very interesting data in cases where tornados pass directly over them: even a few seconds before a camera is destroyed, could be worth something.

    Aviation safety.  A network of cameras will pick up aircraft and thus show any that are visibly in trouble.  The photos and videos could be helpful in the FAA's subsequent analysis of these events.  If criminal gangs are actively using aircraft (or drones!) in an area, the camera network will enable law enforcement to gather evidence on them.  

    UFOs.  Seriously, about 5% of sightings aren't solved, so there's still a valid scientific puzzle any time strange bright dots go whizzing around in the sky.  Getting complete coverage of the sky could provide solutions to all of the "easy" cases and potentially to many of the "difficult" cases.

    Bird migrations and bird watching.  Not only that, but good still photos could even make it possible to estimate (and possibly to actually count) the number of birds in migrating flocks.  This could provide valuable data about changes in bird populations and migration patterns, and the effects of climate change on birds.  

    General meteorology.  The network can be used to study cloud formation, movement, and dissipation, daily cloud cover, and changes over time.  Some of this information could help refine the quality of localized weather forecasting, and some of it may be useful for studying the impacts of air pollution, climate change, and measures to mitigate them.  

    Neat, eh?

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 10:31:34 PM PDT

    •  Those are the least on my mind! (0+ / 0-)

      The Girl not talking with me is much more of concern.

      Warmest regards,


      I would rather die from the acute effects of a broken heart than from the chronic effects of an empty heart. Copyright, Dr. David W. Smith, 2011

      by Translator on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 02:04:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are already plenty of webcams (0+ / 0-)

      all over the country.  Some are used for assessing surf conditions - used to use that one all the time on the west coast.  Some for weather, some just to see what's going on.  

      As for cameras for aviation safety?  It would be more useful for determining the cause of accidents if more black boxes are installed in aircraft than in recording the sky to get a chance visual recording of an accident (and a lot cheaper).

      If criminal gangs are using drones?  Why would they? How would they? Besides, I  think that radar coverage of the airspace around major cities would detect any potentially threatening drone.  

      I'm not sure what you are really proposing - non-govt surveillance to watch the government watching us?

  •  I'm betting that my town will be getting them (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    as soon as they're available to the police departments.  They were particularly loathing to get rid of the helicopters they had due to rising costs a few years back.  They have installed cameras in many places to catch speeders and/or those who run red lights.  There are some on the interstate just a few yards (200ft??) from where the speed limit drops.  They've gotten lots of people there.  But they don't have them in the spots that are particularly dangerous (especially in the winter) curves that lots wipe out on.

  •  Seems like they'd be handy for the EPA. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    So much toxic dumping goes on behind locked gates.

    If Obama doesn't deserve credit for getting Bin Laden because he didn't pull the trigger, Bin Laden doesn't deserve the blame for 9-11 because he didn't fly the planes.

    by Bush Bites on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 05:57:13 AM PDT

  •  If (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    you don't ever leave your home,

    then you don't have anything to worry about.

    PS. They're still working on that on.

    thx HB

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:04:02 AM PDT

  •  testing in Wisconsin (0+ / 0-)

    followed a post today that Drones were being flown at Volk Field in central Wisconsin. A group was arrested for tress pass trying to observe the Drones.

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