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Mon Jul 22, 2013, 06:55 AM

Here Come the Drone Wars in America -- The Public vs. Overzealous Police

http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/drones


Recently, outgoing director of the FBI Robert Mueller revealed that his agency has used drones to conduct surveillance in the United States. Mueller's casual admission serves as an opportune moment for drone enthusiasts: introducing the FBI's domestic drone programme with nonchalance, he swung wide the door on which drooling police departments have long been banging.

For the past year, law enforcement agencies have tried with varying success to convince their wary constituents that drones are necessary for such innocuous, even beneficent, endeavors as conducting search and rescue operations, detecting forest fires and tracking down wandering Alzheimer patients.

Senator Dianne Feinstein pressed Mueller on the privacy risks drones pose to US citizens, but the FBI director needed only to reassure her that his agency had used drones in a "narrowly focused" way in order to quell any qualms the California Senator and Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee might have had. Hardly a champion of the public's right to privacy, however, Feinstein distinguishes herself as one of the most vocal opponents of transparency as well as a leader of the government's war on whistleblowers.

However, others are not so easily appeased.

"The FBI is in its own ball park in terms of rules and techniques. They really have their own rulebook... But local law enforcement has been secretive and very un-transparent about their desires to use drones so this will give them further ammunition that they don't need guidelines to adopt drones," said Nadia Kayyali, a legal fellow with the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, in an interview with me.

36 replies, 1514 views

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Arrow 36 replies Author Time Post
Reply Here Come the Drone Wars in America -- The Public vs. Overzealous Police (Original post)
xchrom Jul 2013 OP
marmar Jul 2013 #1
intaglio Jul 2013 #2
Pholus Jul 2013 #3
intaglio Jul 2013 #4
Pholus Jul 2013 #5
intaglio Jul 2013 #6
Pholus Jul 2013 #7
intaglio Jul 2013 #8
randome Jul 2013 #10
Pholus Jul 2013 #12
intaglio Jul 2013 #13
Pholus Jul 2013 #16
KoKo Jul 2013 #11
intaglio Jul 2013 #14
Javaman Jul 2013 #19
intaglio Jul 2013 #20
Javaman Jul 2013 #29
intaglio Jul 2013 #30
The Straight Story Jul 2013 #18
intaglio Jul 2013 #22
The Straight Story Jul 2013 #23
intaglio Jul 2013 #24
WinkyDink Jul 2013 #26
intaglio Jul 2013 #27
G_j Jul 2013 #9
intaglio Jul 2013 #15
Pholus Jul 2013 #17
Warren DeMontague Jul 2013 #31
intaglio Jul 2013 #32
Warren DeMontague Jul 2013 #33
intaglio Jul 2013 #34
Warren DeMontague Jul 2013 #35
intaglio Jul 2013 #36
Puzzledtraveller Jul 2013 #21
WinkyDink Jul 2013 #25
forestpath Jul 2013 #28

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:43 AM

1. k/r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 07:56 AM

2. Oh, dear another "scary drones" post with the fright du jour - surveillance

Does the author of this Alternet post also find the use of shop cameras for surveillance and evidence also scary? What about Street View?

Does Ms Silver also object to telephoto lenses or satellite imagery? Police cars with dash cams? Speed cameras with number plate recognition?

The genie left the bottle long ago and becoming a modern day Luddite does not help

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Response to intaglio (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:38 AM

3. Oh, dear another "nothing to see here move along" post.

Look,when shop cameras are tied to "non-lethal payloads" your examples might actually be equivalent.

http://news.yahoo.com/border-patrol-wants-arm-drones-172332077.html

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/05/23/groups-concerned-over-arming-of-domestic-drones/

But of course, we wouldn't want to be called "Luddites" for noting that. It's PROGRESS right? I feel as if I could swoon from there more insinuation!

After all we have done such a good job of our actual lethally armed drones identifying legitimate targets after all

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/25/world/asia/pakistan-us-drone-strikes

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Response to Pholus (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:00 PM

4. Either typical confussion from someone who has no idea

or a deliberate attempt to cloud the matter by classing Predator drones with all other semi-autonomous machines

Firstly, Predator drones are not what is being discussed, they are impervious to the primitive weapons available to the general public and are not used in the role being discussed. This is partly because they are too big and expensive

Secondly, the "drones" that are being discussed are small, no more than a meter across (or 2 meters long for aquatic data collectors), and are comparatively cheap, they need not even be airborne. They are here, now, and in the hands of many, many people; hobbyists, photographers, environmental scientists, marine biologists, architects, engineers. These machines cannot be uninvented nor can they be banned without infringing on the freedoms of amateurs who can build them from scratch as well as researchers who find them essential for their work and soldiers who are, probably, already using them for reconnaissance.

I used the word Luddite deliberately because, although they were individually justified, the Luddites could not see how mechanisation improved the life of all. The Luddites would have all cloth hand hand spun and weaved or knitted. The fabrics you wear every day are cheaper, of finer quality and wear better precisely because the Luddites failed in their aims. BTW don't try and distract by mentioning sweat shops in Bangladesh because even if the industry was moved back "onshore" and prices quadrupled, you would still be able to afford more than one pair of trousers or a shirt a year.

What I object too is people wailing about how life was once simpler and wishing to return to whatever golden age they regard as ideal.

Well, sorry but life was never "simpler" and people have never minded their own business. If you truly believe that then you ignore the vast swathes of data collected about ordinary people by the FBI and SOE/CIA since their inception. Indeed the security and police services of all countries have always done such gathering and some were more effective than others.

Too many people on this board exhibit real shock when they realise that what they believe is private is not whereas others know there has never been such privacy. If you walk outside then you are instantly subject to surveillance be it by friends, neighbours, security cameras, geographic and geological mapping, dash cams (private and police) even satellites.

The current attempt to instill panic about "scary drones" is similar to the nonsensical paranoia about internet privacy. Sorry, but I have been using the internet in the region of 25 years and have known for all that time that it has never been private. In the same way I have known for the whole of my adult life that once outside my door I have no reason to expect or receive privacy.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:19 PM

5. What a lesson there, Perfesser!

Can you lern me som mor? I knever new who dem Luddites where!

And technology evolves. The battles today prevent more invasive crap tomorrow.

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Response to Pholus (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 01:31 PM

6. So you cannot rebut?

Fine, just as long stop trying glorify yourself by publishing unfounded and badly thought out posts.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 03:01 PM

7. Sure I can, but is it worth it?

You seem pretty worked up. Best read the rest of this sitting on the toilet so when you soil yourself it's just a flush to clean up.

Not counting your oh-so enlightened description of "Luddites" which was amusing as all pointless trivia is, I can't believe an "expert" on the issue would conflate the terms "armed drone" and Predator while then trying to draw a distinction from 1-2 meter craft. Even I, in my "confused" state know of at least one commercial drone in the 2 meter size that is advertised as being able to pack a shotgun or a small grenade launcher. Certainly, it inspired at least one police department to buy the "nonmilitary" version with the stated aspiration that it could carry flash-bangs, tear gas, rubber bullets and tasers -- even after their idiot drone pilot rammed one of their own vehicles during a demonstration proving the utter reliability of the system (or lack thereof). Your post showed either ignorance or dishonesty in its omission.

But back to you raving that I am the one "publishing unfounded and badly thought out posts."

I hadn't realized you were actually just projecting.

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Response to Pholus (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:03 PM

8. Surely the point is that you are trying to convince doubters, not me

which is something your juvenile response could not do.

My "description" of Luddites was not a description, it was a comment on the flaw in their campaign and related it directly to the argument you made. If I had wished to describe them there would have been a great deal more detail.

Now let's deal with the impractical armed lightweight drone.

You have obviously done your research into armed "drones" and with your massive depth of knowledge please advise how a lightweight machine is able to control the recoil of a shotgun or light grenade launcher. You see attempting to fit the equivalent of a rocket motor on the bottom of a lifting body is not practical without a massive upgrade in engine power. A lightweight machine does not have the mass to damp the recoil effects.

Next you can advise us from your in-depth research why an overweight drone coming close to theoretically dangerous criminals or crowds is going to be more effective than an overweight police officer firing from behind a riot shield? This is especially true in the case of flash-bangs and tear gas because they are technically indirect fire weapons. Baton rounds (what you think of as rubber bullets) might be possible except for the recoil problem mentioned earlier and the horrible law suits to which the PD would be open when people are maimed. Fired tasers against a single person are feasible but here you come up against the problem that such use of tasers are a heat of the moment response, giving no time for a drone to be deployed.

Like the PD you have given as an example you seem supremely unaware of how drones are controlled. Importantly they have far less autonomy than military drones (like Predator). These machines cannot make decisions "on the fly" so the operator is critical. Most people who fly these simpler machines use the traditional watch to see where it is and make adjustments or they use preprogrammed waypoints and examine data gathered between those waypoints. Only once it has reached a given position is the on-board camera guided to look at the area of interest. A screen feed from an on-board camera as the only control at low level is impractical for 2 reasons:
1) humans either require a lot more input than just vision so a lot of extra software and hardware is needed to stop the machine crashing when in crowded areas like streets;
2) because the street level environment is crowded with many hazards that are not visible from the camera.
The alternative is to loose clutter by gaining height but that looses the advantage of a machine intended for ground level operation. This gain in height does not affect the observational role of the machine because image stabilisation software will correct for much of the unavoidable jitter.

It seems to me that the unnamed PD you have said did this very stupid thing were either paid to attempt deployment for publicity or were royally rooked out of a large sum of money for an impractical system.

Finally you might explain why are still indulging in the fantasy that what you do outside is private and can in no circumstances be looked at without your permission when existing technology already "spies" on you?

So as far as I can see you have made yet another badly thought out post and the only supporting example you can find strengthens my case rather than yours.

Goodnight.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:16 PM

10. I still say it's that evil sounding word 'drone' that gets people in a lather.

If they were called just about anything else, these kind of disputes would not even arise. They sound evil, therefore they are evil.

There is nothing you can't do if you put your mind to it.
Nothing.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 10:53 PM

12. Dial B for bombast.

Sadly, you've only proven that I hardly have a monopoly on juvenile behavior. Let's do a paragraph by paragraph breakdown of your latest squeezed out "wisdom:"

1 (subject and incomplete first sentence) Fact free namecalling

2) Yes, we've established you are long winded and like the sound of your own voice a lot too.

3) Yes, lets. No content here either.

4) Wait wut? Impossible you say? Am I going to believe you or my own lying eyes?

So, in this paragraph you established that you know little about recoil physics nor control systems in these drones. Possible enough that the Army did field testing overseas way back in 2007 and even though they didn't adopt it things have doubtlessly improved since then. Certainly the manufacturer still advertises the capability, though for "Military only." I'm sure our Homeland Security apparatus would just itching to pump some more taxpayer money in!

Furthermore you are apparently unimaginative enough to not realize that sometimes the drone IS the weapon delivery system. That's where the army spends their drone money. 30 minutes endurance with remote video and the capability of crashing in with a small hand-grenade/mortar sized round at any second if needed. Domestically, I can imagine this being a popular device if marketed to crisis response teams if the army wasn't buying them as fast as they can be made.



5) Huh. I'd figure the government argument is that any loss in effectiveness is balanced by the gain in safety to personnel. Furthermore, considering NIR capability I figure that an argument can be made for general effectiveness at night. Generically, knowing there is an armed aerial drone adds an intimidation factor as well and forces attention to be split at a time that might be critical. Liability? Grow up, we're in the 21st century. Heck when you write the laws you make it so you don't have liability or you're dumb. Chertoff managed it with the nudie scopes, I figure the drone guys have to be twice as smart considering they took care of those recoil issues you swore were impossible.

6) Nice argument for why there shouldn't be drones at all. Except that appears to be wrong too. The line of sight restriction is an FAA regulation along with altitude limits, not a technological limit. Multiple vendors advertise control systems that do not appear to be that limited in operation. Effort is even being spent to minimize the need for operators even in tight corners.



Not all sensors and processors were onboard for that test, but then again they are only using 0.5 kg quadrotors too.

7) Well, we are finally in agreement on something. Of course the PD in question has a name, it's just that you can't seem to figure out how to find it even with links from me and a search service right in front of you. Kinda like not finding your ass with both hands, so to speak.

8) Oh little pervs (and their apologists) want to look alright, I just maintain that they do not have the right to. Given how that sends them off on spittle flecked rants I can tell my position is correct.

9) That's a rich pile of drivel considering you didn't know about weaponized 2.2 meter drones being manufactured, kamikaze drones and and successful firing of shotguns from a 2 meter drone from almost a decade ago. Other than the superfluous Luddite discussion that was completely unneeded and a bunch of unsourced hype that seems wrong the moment it is tested you brought zero to the table here.

10) You're welcome for the schooling perfesser. Best you scurry off to bed now and rest well.

Game, set and match.

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Response to Pholus (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 04:10 AM

13. I really did not think you would put up that video of an RC helicopter

There are 2 items to note:
1) what happens when the recoil (rocket effect) hits
2) the impact marks are out of phase with the weapon firing.

This video was posted 2 years ago and analysed in depth on this board and the consensus was "fake".

Switchblade: the object of switchblade is to crash so a direct path can be taken when in operator control. To get there the machine has to fly high to avoid obstructions using pre-programmed waypoints. The object of a projectile firing ROV is not to crash. Go outside one day and look at a normal street environment with all the overhead obstructions and tell me how a human controlled ROV avoids them using an on-board camera only.

The Quad swarm posted is very impressive except for 3 things:
1) the special lighting;
2) the vast amount of off-screen computer power used, you see the swarm does not use on-board cameras;
3) the fact it is a closed and limited environment, unlike a street.


The "weaponized 2.2 meter drone" is the one that crashed is it not? Please check my previous comments about crowded environments. The associated "successful test firing" of a shotgun to which you refer was only that, a shotgun fired with minimal aiming to show that it would not destroy the drone; if you look at your own posting of the "weaponized" RC helicopter you will see what effect recoil has on light weight ROVs.

Your post makes little sense as you use your own private numbering system unrelated to what I have posted. please tell us WTF you are talking about and keep your thoughts in order. Because of this it took me a little time to realise what your number (8) was talking about. Once understood all I could gather was that you regard people who see you walking about are "pervs", a very childish charge and one made without any real thought.

Now to your personal insults.

Bombast? As far as I'm aware all that I have said has had meaning and as to high sounding, well, I'm sure you wouldn't want me to get down and do street talk.

Liking the sound of my own voice is just a rewording of the silly "bombast" charge.

The only name calling I used was "Luddite", and that was as a comparison.

I'm long winded when I give you the courtesy of thought out responses, well sorry but I'll continue to be long winded. It might also be considered another repeat of your "bombast" charge.

If you want me to act the "perfesser" then I will ask you to do your homework about Newtonian Mechanics - you know, for each action there is an equal and opposite reaction ...

Locally it was gone 1 AM when I finished my last response; but I forget, where you are is the centre of the universe - and that is an insult.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 08:38 AM

16. You, sir, would be the reason "tl;dr" was invented in the first place. :)

You use 500 words where 100 would do -- the very definition of bombast. And now my posts are doing the same thanks.

On rereading this in the light of day, I apologize -- my mocking you over your "Luddite" exposition means I escalated rather harshly and after that it was just too fun to keep barbing. But that hasn't stopped me from enjoying our exchange and I thank you.

We diverged greatly from my original intent which was to say that the well publicized arming of military drones means domestic law enforcement wants the same things and that comparing them to shop cameras is not fair until shop cameras also have the capability to activate weaponry. But at that point you made it too easy to want to debate details.

But a bit in parting because it's just too fun to pick...

1) 'analysed in depth on this board and the consensus was "fake".' -- Appeal to authority doesn't work without a reference.

2) Guess you hadn't thought of the Switchblade. As far as all your reasons it would be impractical, please share them with the U.S. Army so they stop wasting money on them.

3) The limitations of the quadrotor experiment were to demonstrate that piloting issues are a topic of active research. Again, you'd do well to point out why this is a waste of time.

4) Nope, it isn't the one that crashed.

So sorry my numbering scheme confused you. It wasn't helped by the absence of substantial content in your first three paragraphs!

In my experience, people who lecture me about how "privacy is dead so get over it" seem to end up being pervs or at least make their money from catering to pervs. Childish? Perhaps. But it is the most direct way to convey the sentiment.

Finally, "Locally it was gone 1 AM when I finished my last response; but I forget, where you are is the centre of the universe - and that is an insult." Ahhh, so can we spend some time trading barbs between Europe and the US then? Just kidding...

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Response to intaglio (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:59 PM

11. Well...you signify as a very "Special Person.'

Indeed...that all of us could have been born in your timeframe and with your particular skill set and sensibilities.

The rest of us just haven't caught up. So...we are clueless and luddites.

Okay...GOT IT!

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Response to KoKo (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 04:57 AM

14. The term Luddite was comparative

and justified.

BTW would you care to identify what world you belong to?

Most people live in a world of hard problems and real solutions. Drones, UAVs, ROVs or whatever other name you give them fall directly into these categories and provide resources that we need as well as new dangers. The panicked cries of how an amorphous they of "the Government" or "the security services" or "the police" should not be allowed access to these machines is just wishful thinking.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:03 AM

19. Actually the term "Luddite" was from Ned Ludd...

who wasn't against modernization per say, but for the workers that were being put out of work because of "modernization". In essence he was a voice for the people. I asked the very unpopular question at the time of "what becomes of these people?" This was preVictorian England when slave labor workhouses were all the rage and workers right were very low on the totem pole. (don't get me wrong, circumstance didn't get any better under Victorian rule)

Over time, the word "luddite" was bastardized and was used to popularize the concept of being against progress or modernization.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #19)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:53 AM

20. If you want to talk history ...

... then Ned Ludd was probably ended up a conglomerate figure much like Rebecca of the Rebecca Riots in Wales. Both the Luddites and the Rebeccas were justified in their protests except the Luddites failed whereas the Rebeccas, eventually, won.

Truth is complicated but it seems likely that the Luddites failed because they sought to extend the privilege of a minority (spinners, weavers and pile shearers) who were indeed loosing their livelihood but whose success would have maintained an artificially high price and low quality for cloth to the detriment of everyone else. On the other hand the Rebeccas were seeking fair taxation, rents, wages and tolls that effected all of the less privileged, hence their (delayed) success.

Similar failures to the Luddites in modern times were the Wapping printers strikes (for whom I felt no sympathy, but that is a story in itself) and the Miners Strike, who I did everything I could to assist.

Successes similar to the Rebeccas seem more difficult until you realise that UK female sufferage was just such a campaign as was the unfortunate but effective campaign of the Protestants to partition of Ireland.

To relate these digressions back to the OP you have to ask whether the people bemoaning drone technology are Neds or Rebeccas; and you know my opinion.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 04:31 PM

29. Thanks for the information...

I'm not weighing in on either side of this.

I learned long ago not to touch the hot stove.

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Response to Javaman (Reply #29)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 06:15 PM

30. Call me a masochist ;) n/t

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Response to intaglio (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 09:17 AM

18. My take on it:

If you walk outside then you are instantly subject to surveillance be it by friends, neighbours, security cameras, geographic and geological mapping, dash cams (private and police) even satellites.

Stores and other cameras do not have the power to arrest you and imprison you. Dash cams on cop cars are no different than the cops themselves and their primary use boils down to internal affairs. Satellites, sure, but who would waste their use on watching most people (cost to benefit ratio).

I get that the internet is not private, I used gmail and am sure google can read my emails anytime they want. It's their company and I can choose their product. The government does not give you that choice when they suck in all of it from all companies.

Guessing you are not a fan of use having similar access to the government because you value their privacy. And we have laws to protect our privacy against misuse by companies. Hows that working out when it comes to people in government?

Drones tip a balance that exist. We can use helicopters of course but there is a human factor (risk and pay) and they are more expensive to own and operate. With drones the local/state/ etc can more easily monitor people 24x7 and use them to not only revenue enhance but harass (example, I see kids without bike helmets here all the time. You advocate against something and the always watching drones can pick up on every single thing you do wrong - and don't tell me they won't - again, harder to do that now).

Maybe you have no problem with it being easier for your government to keep tabs on you and how you live your life while they make it harder on us to do the same with them (that whole 'we can't tell you why we droned that family in yemen, it's a national security thing') but some of us like not being under the all seeing eye.

--Now, let me ask you: If you are all ok with the police using these do you have an issue with us citizens being allowed to buy and employ drones en masse over the homes of cops, politicians, x girlfriends, etc? Or do you think only us little people would misuse them?

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #18)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 11:20 AM

22. But all of the resources can be used to provide evidence against you

You proclaim the use of helicopters but then note the risk and cost, what you ignore is that the cost and risk is passed back to the tax payers who have to pick up the tab and may well be injured by those helicopters crashing.

I'm pretty sure we all agree on one thing - that we should all have some privacy, where I differ is that I do not assume that all I do is private unless I agree otherwise. What is more there are times when even what is done in private has to be examined. The obvious example are the horrific views expressed by Mitt Romney about the poor during the Presidential campaign and was that Mr Romney even had a reasonable expectation of privacy given the venue, the attendees and the declaration that it was a private function. Even with this I, for one, am glad that Mr Romney was exposed.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #22)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 11:43 AM

23. I think, though, you are missing the point

As far as all of those being able to be used against someone - sure, but you have to go through the courts to get them and show cause (ie, they can't just use those sources without a reason).

The easier it is for the authorities to monitor you directly the less they have to show cause since they are the source. Let me give you an example from recent news events:

Black boxes in cars. You can tie those into the government and if you go 1mph over the speed limit you get a ticket (you are breaking the law). There is a good, and recent, article on them here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/business/black-boxes-in-cars-a-question-of-privacy.html?pagewanted=all

And they are not always accurate (see the above article).

Low cost drones patrolling the highways night and day can tell the speed of a car as well. This will not only create a huge revenue stream for cities but, as I noted before, could well be used to selectively harass a person (which, again, as noted before is not something that is cost efficient with a helicopter - from fuel, to crews, to insurance, etc).

Drones can be useful for helping find lost people, aiding the police on raids by monitoring a home from above, etc - so I don't object to them having them in such cases. But with anything we need to be wary of the how and why of what they do.

And given stories I have posted in the past many times we damn well have a right to be suspicious of intent.

Let's be clear on one thing - people break laws every day. Hell, we don't even know all of the laws (try reading the ohio revised code some time, I have spent hours during so). A personal scenario as an example:

My mom dropped me off at the creek so I could go fishing (many years back). I had two poles and was baiting one (bottom fishing) mom cast one out for me and decided to have a quick smoke before she left. I cast mine out and we stood there talking and the game warden showed up. Gave her a ticket (over 100 bucks) for fishing without a license. He had been sitting under the overpass at i-270 by the creek and said he saw her cast it out.

Technically I guess he was correct, but all she was doing was getting my line in before leaving. I could see it if I had a lure on and she cranked it back in I suppose.

Add some drones into our daily lives patrolling the skies everywhere and the simplest of things we do is going to be scrutinized and turned into cash for the city/state (at the very least).

Driving down the highway and a piece of paper slips out your window? That's a fine. Drop your speed a few seconds after passing a new speed limit sign? A fine.

The problem is trust and abuse of power. And being an ex cop I can tell you there were more than a few folks in power I knew that abused their power daily (and the things they did? Well, they got away with a lot - although one of the directors did get jail time most got away with things you and I would not - but then we don't get to watch them and every move they make. Cops and politicians take care of their own more times than not, and I have personally benefited from that on several occasions).

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Response to The Straight Story (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:39 PM

24. We disagree, fair enough

But look at your first example, did the police have to go through the courts for the videos made near the start of the Boston Marathon? It is well worth remembering that it is the holders of those records who have the right to release them to the police - not the people pictured in the videos. It is true that business owners can refuse access but do you really think that happens?

Black boxes (Onstar) I've had to drive a car equipped with one of those and know damn well they are inaccurate - once it had me doing 99 mph on the loop in Shute Hill, Mawnan Smith (excuse the horrendous link).
https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=mawnan+smith&ll=50.114018,-5.107924&spn=0.002594,0.005477&client=opera&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest&hnear=Mawnan+Smith,+Cornwall,+United+Kingdom&t=m&z=18

I agree that drones patrolling night and day are an imposition, but then so are number plate recognition systems and we have those in this country already. Untaxed, uninsured cars are caught regularly by these. Speeding, not so much because the law here is that there has to be due warning (400 meters?) of "traffic control cameras" such as speed cameras or red light cameras.

Even with these warnings the fact remains that someone on public property has no reason to expect privacy. Equally someone on unscreened private land that is visible from a public place has no expectation of privacy, currently. But current common law practice is subverted by modern technology.

The Argus camera has recently been posted about on this forum and, obviously, there is little that would not be visible to this system. Even prior to Argus the use of ultra-long lens zooms by the paparazzi has rendered privacy on private land moot and legislating against it is a nightmare; the obvious questions are does the First Amendment trump the Fourth? and if so what is the position about private "newsmen" passing such pictures on to the Government?

I reiterate you should not expect 4th Amendment privacy in any public area, or even in the open air on your own land.

A separate question is "should the Constitution be amended to take into account this new visibility?" and I think we would both agree that it should.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #22)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:43 PM

26. Are you comparing a man's utterance overheard by another citizen to the GOVERNMENT'S USE OF DRONES?

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #26)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 01:28 PM

27. No, read my post #24 n/t

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Response to intaglio (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 22, 2013, 08:09 PM

9. I guess the "slippery slope" concept does not apply

when just dive on in!

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Response to G_j (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 04:59 AM

15. What the slippery slope concept implies ...

... is that humanity should have stopped progress before they got to fire.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 08:46 AM

17. And in 1903 a number of Chicago theater goers may have agreed...

Not everyone "wins" as the "wheel of progress" turns.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 07:49 PM

31. Here in the US, many of us are concerned about Constitutional, 4th Amendment issues.

The technology is ancillary, except insofar as if it is allowing law enforcement a level of access they wouldn't normally enjoy; for instance, if a cop couldn't walk into your back yard and snoop around without a warrant, should he be able to fly an RC helicopter into it to do the same?

I agree that "drones" have become one of those scary buzzwords, like "GMO" that some people react to without stopping to think that it's not the technology itself that is inherently bad or good, rather how its used.

We've had many situations where cops fly helicopters over neighborhoods using IR cameras, to try to catch the teenager with a pot plant growing in the closet. Is this constitutional? Is this a good use of tax dollars? These are legitimate questions.

But the questions and legal issues may be different in Canada.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #31)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 04:09 AM

32. Good points, but surely difficult in law

But let me offer other scenarios.

What if the cop can see the plant growing over the fence?

Or the plant is visible from an adjacent overpass?

Or what if the cop flies the rc helicopter along the alley but at a height that the plant is visible?

Helicopter flights by drug enforcement agencies looking for the IR signature of pot do not check just one back yard, (hence the popularity of hydroponics in the UK).

Given that such flights are not uncommon how can you limit the ability to look round and down?

How can you limit what parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that they use?

How is using a UAV flying a pre-programmed route different from a manned overflight?

What about satellite imagery?

Let me change the crop. UAVs and helicopters are used when studying the environment;

What about a researcher looking at IR signatures sees the signature of an opium crop on "private land" are they free to report it?

Could the EPA when checking for illegal logging (please don't laugh, they might do that one day) see such a a plantation on a private lot report that?

What of an environmental activist group?

What of a contractor working on behalf of the EPA?

Does any of this change if the private land is attached to a house and screened at ground level?

Note I am not saying that privacy is not important or that legislation protecting it is impossible but that it is a far more complex area than imagined.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #32)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 04:39 AM

33. My main point is, here in the US it's really about the 4th Amendment, bottom line.

As for the other scenarios:

One, pot should be legal. I'm not going to exercise my brain trying to contrort ways to figure out how governments can piss away tax dollars "legitimately" snooping around for a benign fucking plant. They should find other things to worry about. Period.

And honestly, even with the rest of it, (ignoring the scare quotes on "private land") I really have trouble figuring out why governments should be worrying about any of it. You'll note that even with the pretty fucking wide surveillance latitude they already enjoy, they can't seem to find the people who keep kidnapped women in their back yards for 10 years. But if it was a pot plant? You bet your ass they would have been all over it.

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #33)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 06:13 AM

34. Sorry for the confussion over "private land"

They were not scare quotes but to indicate that private land is not just land owned by private individuals but also that by businesses. I should have been clearer.

Pot was used because that was your original example. One reason I changed the plant to opium in the last section was precisely because I, like you, think pot should be legal. Of you use "opium" or "coca" on every case where I used "pot" can you see what I am driving at?

If you think that using drugs are a bad example, what about the plot of the Hitchcock film "Rear Window"? What if the James Stewart character had been a cop; would his observation of a crime have been unconstitutional?

All of the current furore over privacy is something that needs to be thought about deeply rather than just declaring that such invasions of privacy are unconstitutional because you think they should be unconstitutional. A lot of the time I have been playing devils advocate because it is useless talking only to an echo chamber.

Unless you and other like you start thinking about privacy then the metaphorical penalty is that Government, businesses and individuals could get away with murder.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 01:12 PM

35. Certainly, and the text of the 4A itself is nothing if not inherently subjective.

I mean, there's that word, "unreasonable"... dig?

Obviously it needs to be discussed and thought through- my two points, I guess, were that there are larger issues above and beyond simply the technology or "drones" (speaking of scare quotes) ... as well, it's reasonable to assume from a historical perspective that unless Law Enforcement is given clear legal guidelines around these new technologies and capabilities, any way they can use them, they will. And so on.

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Response to intaglio (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 24, 2013, 06:39 PM

36. The quotes around drones are not scare quotes

They're there because drone covers a multitude of sins - ROVs, autonomous oceanic data collectors, unmanned ground vehicles and especially UAVs. This last is unfortunate as it associates (usually) innocuous machines with the dedicated war machines like Predator. My objection to drone being used in this way is probably similar to the way the gun tight people object to "assault rifle" being used about weapons without a full auto selector.

I actually think that "drone" is used by a few people quite deliberately to stir up fear.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:54 AM

21. k&r

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 12:40 PM

25. I'm sure there are heart-felt apologies already composed FFR.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Jul 23, 2013, 01:30 PM

28. K&R

 

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