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  (Source: Curbed)
The EFF wants citizens to force local police departments to be transparent about potentially frightening fliers

The U.S. is no warzone, but in what some would call another sign of the rising U.S. "police state", some local police departments are looking to deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).  These drones are startlingly similar to the kind of fliers used by the U.S. armed forces to perform attacks and surveillance within war-torn Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan -- in fact sometimes they're the same models.

Last month, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) begrudgingly complied with a Freedom of Information Act request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to list the parties that had been authorized to use unmanned drones to patrol over U.S. Among those listed among the 60+ accepted applicants were "about two dozen" police agencies.

The EFF is quite concerned about this development, particularly given that buried within the "FAA Modernization and Reform Act", a funding bill for the FAA, was a provision that mandated that the FAA automatically accepted requests by police agencies looking to deploy drones (assuming they provide sufficient paperwork showing they know how to fly them safely).

For Americans, police are essential public servants and key defenders of communities.  But there have also been issues in many regions of police abuses.

Now with the police preparing to gain access to a powerful -- and potentially easy to abuse -- new high tech tool, the EFF is stepping up its efforts to try to involve citizens to force police departments who use drones to offer details and transparency about their program.

Police attacking
The EFF warns that police may soon have the ability to literally peer in your bedroom window.
[Image Source: Occupy News Network]

Specifically, the EFF wants citizens to ask what kind of data is being collected, how many drones are being flown, and what models of drones are being operated.  The EFF is particularly concerned about armed models, which it believes are being put into use.  It writes:

Drones are capable of highly advanced and almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data. They carry various types of equipment includinglive-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. Some newer drones carry super high resolution “gigapixel” cameras that can “track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet[,] . . . [can] monitor up to 65 enemies of the State simultaneously[, and] . . . can see targets from almost 25 miles down range.” Predator drones can eavesdrop on electronic transmissions, and one drone unveiled at DEFCON last year can crack Wi-Fi networks and intercept text messages and cell phone conversations—without the knowledge or help of either the communications provider or the customer. Drones are also designed to carry weapons, and some have suggested that drones carrying weapons such as tasers and bean bag guns could be used domestically.
 
The EFF adds:

This is just the first step. Once we've collected the data, we will release it and tell you how you can contact your local municipal government to demand that they ban law enforcement drones or install robust privacy safeguards that will protect citizens from unwanted—and unconstitutional—surveillance.

Those interesting in helping can visit the project page here.

UAV police
The EFF is concerned about police departments deploying armed UAVs, which raise the potential for serious abuses. [Image Source: AP]

Source: EFF



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RE: go ahead
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/12/2012 4:06:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
as much unsolved robberies, home invasions, murders, carjackings, I hope they start with my city first.
And I suppose spending several million dollars on a drone is a better solution than hiring a few extra cops that make $30-35K per year?

I fail to see how this would really be a very effective tool at stopping crimes, though I certainly can see how it would be a very easy tool to abuse citizens' privacy. Seems like whoever wants these drones might have ulterior motives.

Good old fashioned police work and neighborhood watches fight crime, not Big Brother-esque mobile eyes in the sky. Show me evidence that this is a cost effective solution and evidence that it will actually reduce crime if you can.


RE: go ahead
By Reclaimer77 on 6/12/2012 4:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
"Crime prevention" is the least efficient use of funding and manpower. You're essentially chasing an impossible goal, and often running afoul of citizens rights and the presumption of innocence.

quote:
Good old fashioned police work and neighborhood watches fight crime, not Big Brother-esque mobile eyes in the sky. Show me evidence that this is a cost effective solution and evidence that it will actually reduce crime if you can.


Agree.


RE: go ahead
By Ramstark on 6/13/2012 12:53:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
""Crime prevention" is the least efficient use of funding and manpower..."


OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M THE FIRST TO BRING THIS TO THIS TOPIC...

Reclaimer run, just run, the Pre-crime unit is deploying the spider drones RIGHT NOW in your building, I also have a prereport of drone surveillance on Jason...

Jokes aside, I live in Mexico, where there is no good police work nor budget for drones, but I can tell you that home invasions happen from time to time from "investigators" and citizens can't even ask for a search warrant, neither an order. Police states are wrong, we really should consider civilian-empowerment solutions for fighting crime...inexpensive and honest...
My 2Cents.


RE: go ahead
By Reclaimer77 on 6/13/2012 1:07:11 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Police states are wrong, we really should consider civilian-empowerment solutions for fighting crime...inexpensive and honest... My 2Cents.


Exactly. Mexico is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.

It's just amazing to me how many Americans have this belief that "it could never happen here.". Things CAN happen here if we don't remain vigilant. They already are happening.


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