EFF: Police May Use Armed Drones to Watch You, Citizen Help Needed
June 12, 2012 2:36 PM
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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.
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
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 including
live-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
The EFF is concerned about police departments deploying armed UAVs, which raise the potential for serious abuses. [Image Source: AP]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
6/17/2012 8:23:23 AM
this is a matter everyone should take serious. I have been under drone surveillance for 2 month 24/7. at first i thought i was going crazy, i even went as far to look up schizophrenia thinking i must have something wrong because what i was experiencing and seeing was delusional. i never even new what a drone was until one night i was driving home and next to me i saw something flying (about 10 feet from my vehicle) that night i went home and told my husband what i had seen and he thought i was crazy. the next night while watching the 5 p.m news they showed a picture of the drone and talked about it, we were in shock. since then i have been monitored 24/7 even following me to utah and ariz. i have done nothing but read everything i can on them and what my right are as far as them harrassing me. i have about wrecked several times because there is always one above me, my car runs differently, when i turn my car off my speakers click on and its although my car is amplified. my car vibrates even when turned off, and so many other issues it's insane. i have talked to some of my friends about what is going on and at first they truely thought i was crazy a few of them suggested that perhaps a vacation would do me good. it was'nt until one of my friends came over and i proved it to her. i told her to watch because the minute i open my car door you will see a drone fly by us (now keep in mind she is a pilot) i did this three times (opening my car door then closing it) and all three times the drone flew by. i have been scared to death, i've had friends look at me like i'm nuts, but lately i am feed up, i am looking into seeing an attorney to see what rights i have.
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