ACLU finds domestic drones the Worst. Thing. Evah.

posted at 11:31 am on March 16, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

One of the stable of writers at Huffpo is getting the Left all up in arms over the latest complaint from the ACLU. This week, the new topic of outrage is drones, but not the ones flying over Afghanistan. (At least not today.) They’re more concerned with the idea of domestic law enforcement using the new technology to fight crime. Because they’re way worse than helicopters or something.

As drone regulation legislation works its way through Congress and the 30 (so far) state legislatures where it has been introduced, one question that we hear a lot these days is, “we’ve had police helicopters for a long time, what’s so different about drones?”

For one thing, police helicopters do raise privacy issues. Because of the expense of using manned police aircraft, privacy invasions have not risen to the level that legislators have felt compelled to address them, but incidents do happen. In 2005, for example, a police helicopter supposedly monitoring a street protest in New York City instead trained its infrared camera for a prolonged period on a couple making love on a pitch-black rooftop patio. Any police helicopter that followed a citizen around town for no reason, or hovered over the backyard of innocent homeowners whose daughter was sunbathing with her friends, would probably draw complaints. With drones, scenarios like those are bound to happen much more frequently. And that’s because there are some critical distinctions between manned and unmanned aircraft.

Before we even get to the “differences” cited in the article, it should be pointed out that the above paragraph is total hogwash in terms of expressing concerns regarding government overreach via technology. The examples cited are not cases of the police using helicopters to further an investigation by short circuiting any citizen’s rights. They’re examples of rogue officers breaking the law themselves. It’s certainly bad, but this is not a matter of public policy. It’s a case of a few bad apple law enforcement officials going off the reservation. (Yes, I’m still using that phrase. No, it’s not racist. Deal with it.)

Now, as to the “reasons” why drones are worse than helicopters.

1. Drones erase “natural limits” on aerial surveillance

Manned helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft are expensive to acquire, staff, and maintain. A police helicopter costs from $500,000 to $3 million to acquire, and $200-$400 an hour to fly…

With drones, on the other hand, it’s easy to foresee a day when even a professional police drone could be acquired for less than a hundred dollars, including maintenance costs.

How is this even germane to a discussion of privacy rights and limits on law enforcement? Because helicopters cost too much? Technology tends to get smaller and cheaper over time. That’s just a given. Either the police have the right to view activities from the air or they don’t. And it’s been long established that your reasonable expectation of privacy is vastly diminished once you step outside your door and go out in public where you can be seen by anyone, including the cops.

2. Drones make new forms of privacy invasion possible

In addition, there are some kinds of privacy invasion that are only possible with drones. For example, micro-drones maneuvering into intrusive places; even the smallest manned helicopter can’t fly into a garage or hover unseen outside a third-story bedroom window. Or (as I’ve written about before), the fact that drones can be silent; the loud noise a helicopter makes serves as a crude kind of “notice” that one may be under surveillance from the air. Silent or high-flying drones that can’t be heard provide no such notice.

There are two parts to this one. Is it legal for the police to use a drone to hover outside your window and peer inside? We’ll need to ask some of the lawyers int he crowd about that one. Can they use high power telescopes to look in your windows from afar? Could they do it from a helicopter with binoculars? That seems less a question about technology than the limits of investigations absent a warrant. As to the noise factor, more hogwash. The noise of a chopper is not built-in as some sort of required warning that you’re being watched. It’s the byproduct of having a huge engine. If they could build a total silent Blackhawk, trust me… they would.

3. Drones’ capabilities are likely to expand even further in the future

The fact that drones are so inexpensive will have another consequence: because so many drones will be out there, and so many people innovating with them, it’s very likely that the technology will develop new capabilities that have never existed for police helicopters.

Bah. The same as with the first “argument” above, this is the growth of technology, not of the surveillance state. It’s bound to happen no matter who is using it.

Should we be banning police from using drones if they can afford them? Seems to me it might have been nice to have a fleet of them around when they were chasing Christopher Dorner a little while back. We might have had a few less people in body bags if we’d had them. In the end, the technology isn’t what should be your concern, it’s the laws behind them. Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.


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Yes, Drones are a bad thing. Next question in the Mr. Obvious show?

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

it’s very likely that the technology will develop new capabilities that have never existed for police helicopters.

Depending on the design of the drone, many drones can stay “on station” for very long periods, which a police helicopter could never do. They can’t even remain stationary very long without creating “wash” problems. Smaller drones rarely have this problem.

J_Crater on March 16, 2013 at 11:38 AM

I reserve the right to down any fly craft over my property that I can reach with a bow and arrow.

J_Crater on March 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Nope, drones are the equalizer.

I reserve the right to down any fly craft over my property that I can reach with a bow and arrow.

J_Crater on March 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Then can I bomb you with essence of skunk from mine?

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

You can make your own drone. I was watching a show on archaeology. To look at topographical features, they used a homemade drone. It was a cardboard replica of a stealth bomber, about 18″ by 12″. In it they fitted a digital camera and added a radio operated propeller. It worked extremely well.

Blake on March 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

In the end, the technology isn’t what should be your concern, it’s the laws behind them. Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.

Let’s revisit this statement, when the Democrats take control of the House, especially if the “pathway to citizenship” for illegals becomes the yellow brick road to Utopia and voting – AND when the Marxist in the Oval Office appoints some of his legion to the Supreme Court.

What will our tools be … to make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens [shouldn’t this be EVERY CITIZEN – not just the law abiding ones?], when that very government is on the verge of becoming a One-Party government – a One Party government that desires to dictate, control, order, demand, require and force Americans to OBEY?

America is headed towards dictatorship – will you have any concerns with these drones and their technology, then?

OhEssYouCowboys on March 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

When the government steps in to tell a private business that they can’t fly a Crow-sized drone because it violates federal air space, that is when I have a problem with government-operated drones.

As with weaponry anything the government can use against me in the drone field, I should be able to possess too.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.

You break 3 federal laws every day. You are a bad guy.

Feel the same way now?

lorien1973 on March 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens

…JugEars and Eric Holder think you have a sense of humor now!

KOOLAID2 on March 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Link for my sad little tale, right here in Minnesota:

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/03/14/faa-grounds-local-aerial-photo-business/#comments

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Look, let’s be honest for a moment. Tell you what, give me one piece of technology, one ability that we have allowed the police and the Government to have that was not abused? Cops run people through NCIC for personal reasons all the time. Is it wrong? Sure. Is it stopped? No way because NCIC is so important. They conduct illegal searches all the time, and hey we have to let them because we are foolish enough to believe they are working to protect us.

When we allow the Government any authority, they inevitably abuse that authority. We complain, and the excuse is that only one person did this, and the rest of them are selfless defenders of our safety. PFUI. Shut down the drones, make it a death penalty offense to use one. Then I’ll believe you care about us.

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Anyone familiar with Kurzweil knows the ACLU and all of us will lose the drone wars.

Offensive drones won’t go away but will be joined by flying couriers, all sorts of everyday uses and even personal transportation devises.

Speakup on March 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:46 AM

I read that.

The government knows these things are a Pandora’s box that can give power to regular citizens usually reserved for the government.

They fear drones in the hands of citizens more than they fear fire arms.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Nope, drones are the equalizer.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

What needs to be equalized? Already police have nearly unlimited authority in reality. They perpetually lie about justification for searches. They perpetually lie about someone matching a description so they can question and demand identification. They shot up two innocent vehicles while searching for Dorner. Yet no one has been charged with attempted murder?

The police don’t need to have drones as the great equalizer. They need to have power, technology, and authority taken from them to help equalize them to us.

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Anyone familiar with Kurzweil knows the ACLU and all of us will lose the drone wars.

Speakup on March 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

How?

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM

I’d like to have a drone to follow my oldest girl and her boyfriend on date night, have that thing hovering over the boy the entire time and projecting that 3-sided “Predator” laser image on his chest.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Not for them dunderhead, for us.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Let me guess, Jazz still believes the TSA will only use the backscatter images for security purposes, and the images will be deleted almost immediately.

Its for the children.

I reserve the right to down any fly craft over my property that I can reach with a bow and arrow.

J_Crater on March 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

I see a market for directed EMP devices.

Pardon me…is that your DirecTv dish up there?

No, thats my anti-drone EMP transmitter.

Bzzzzzzzt!

BobMbx on March 16, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:52 AM

A little expensive to build one that will keep a laser sight centered on target for a length of time. And hard to hide. We are better off with mini, or micro-size ROVs.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I don’t believe it. I and the ACLU agree on something. drones should be outlawed from domestic use.

unseen on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens

Well, we’ve only been struggling to do that for about 230 years.

If the government can screw up, it will screw up.

Free Constitution on March 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Do you really want drones everywhere when they’re operated by police like this guy?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2294225/SWAT-officer-attracts-ridicule-s-pictured-rifle-sight-backwards.html

I’m not piling on the cops but let’s face it, giving the government in any form everything they want and ask for is a bad idea.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:57 AM

A little expensive to build one that will keep a laser sight centered on target for a length of time. And hard to hide. We are better off with mini, or micro-size ROVs.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

I don’t want it hidden, I want it noisy so the boy knows it’s there, every minute of that date, and that he will die if my girl is abused in any way. I include failing to open the car door for her as “abuse”.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Jazz, you’re missing the point all together. Police helicopters are a huge privacy issue in and of themselves, but the argument has always been that only large police departments can afford them, they’re incredibly loud (so its not like you won’t know if a police helicopter is in the area), and theyre very expensive to operate and maintain, so cops will most likely not use them for “fishing expeditions” very often.

I disagree with those arguments, I think police helicopters should be SEVERELY limited in what they can and cannot do.

With drones, none of that exists. If we allow domestic police forces to use them, we will be living in a complete surveillance state. Drones are quiet, tiny (they dont need to have room for a pilot and a cop), cheap to purchase and operate… totally different beasts.

If the police would use them within the boundaries of the constitution, I’d have zero problems with the technology. However, those “few bad apples” that “went off the reservation” are but a small sample of what cops can and do do if allowed. Which is why we have the bill of rights, because unlike you, the founders did not trust government to do the right thing.

If, for example, we said police cars, helicopters, and drones can only records during a lawful interaction between police and citizen (like the constitution would seem dictate when it says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated” which I would argue includes video recording then I’d be fine with it.

Timin203 on March 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Not for them dunderhead, for us.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Really? Are you thinking that our far less expensive (We don’t have the unlimited resources of the Government) drones will just hover over the cops and keep them honest for once? Pfui. When we do catch the cops breaking the law, they are at most given a letter that says they screwed up and are sent back out to inflict us more.

Additionally, the Government will make sure your drones are falling from the sky from technical problems, leaving you liable to damages while they are immune from suits. No, ban the damn things, make the use of them an offense where the offender gets twenty years in the electric chair, and be done with it.

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

. They perpetually lie about justification for searches. ….

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 11:50 AM

That’s pretty strong language bordering on libel. No I don’t think most cops lie perpertually. I don’t think you do either you just like to talk big from your soap box. Congrats.

I don’t believe it. I and the ACLU agree on something. drones should be outlawed from domestic use.

unseen on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

What about the use of satellites and cameras?

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

There are two parts to this one. Is it legal for the police to use a drone to hover outside your window and peer inside? We’ll need to ask some of the lawyers int he crowd about that one.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that a Peeping Tom would would feel the sting of the Louisville Slugger I keep in the closet for such things.

If Peeping Toms get more high tech, then so will I.

Curtiss on March 16, 2013 at 12:01 PM

How is this even germane to a discussion of privacy rights and limits on law enforcement? Because helicopters cost too much? Technology tends to get smaller and cheaper over time. That’s just a given. Either the police have the right to view activities from the air or they don’t.

Actually Jazz, cost is important. If using a technology is expensive, it won’t be used unless It Is Important. If it costs me as the top cop $1000 per hour to fly a helicopter, with the risk of a crash that might cost two lives or more, I’m going to sit that helicopter a lot. On the other hand if I can fly 20 drones for each at $10 per hour, well, I’m going to survailling an awful lot of people I think might be up to no good (e.g., known gang members.) Do you want to turn America into East Germany, with Americans spying on each other?

rbj on March 16, 2013 at 12:02 PM

I don’t believe it. I and the ACLU agree on something. drones should be outlawed from domestic use.

unseen on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Come take mine any time you feel froggy hon.

Really?

Snake307 on March 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Yes really.

The government already tried to take drones away from the citizens 20 years ago when they recommitted the frequencies for transmitters. They failed. The technology and genius of RC modelers made our drones more advanced and capable than ever.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Didn’t they base a movie on concerns like this called Blue Thunder.

Capt_Nemo on March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

How is this even germane to a discussion of privacy rights and limits on law enforcement? Because helicopters cost too much? Technology tends to get smaller and cheaper over time. That’s just a given. Either the police have the right to view activities from the air or they don’t.

Do some reading on speed and red light cameras. Concentrate on the reasons given to justify their use compared to the reasons used to defend their use. In the former, its ‘public safety’, in the latter its ‘lost revenue…we’ll have to raise taxes to makeup the shortfall’.

And just recently an Ohio judge tossed them, saying they were nothing more than a scam.

Why are they an issue while radar, laser and manned surveillance for speed enforcement are not?

BobMbx on March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Didn’t they base a movie on concerns like this called Blue Thunder.

Capt_Nemo on March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

You just back one of my favorite movie memories.

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Ted Cruz just introduced Sarah Palin at CPAC.

birdwatcher on March 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Hey, I’ve got a problem with drones as well. Most especially systems such as ARGUS, which are designed to record entire cities in high def, permanently.

Flyovercountry on March 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I actually have that drone on the cover. It’s called an AR Parrot Drone. It’s not real practical as a spy drone because the flight time is only ~20 minutes and it’s loud as hell. It’s also really bad in a crosswind. I’m sure the technology will get better as time goes on but if you really want to see what video from one of these things looks like (in a 10mph wind), here ya go: http://youtu.be/BKg-q7R2oa4

Meric1837 on March 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

It simple proliferation. We didn’t have Bill Clinton’s ECHELON system because it the the right thing to do or lawful, we had it because it was easy for them to do an hard to stop.

Same for drones. We won’t have them because they are right and lawful… we will have them simply because it’s relatively easy for people to have them, and nearly impossible to stop. Et tu?

HopeHeFails on March 16, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Why are they an issue while radar, laser and manned surveillance for speed enforcement are not?

BobMbx on March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

As noted in the ACLU objection to drones: Cost. ?
It would be much more expensive to man all of those intersections.
I know it seems silly. I noted above not only cameras but do some research on the capabilities of spy satellites .

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081502430.html

Also,

The US government’s surveillance agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, has decided to donate two satellites as big as and more powerful than the Hubble Space Telescope to NASA in a cool-until-you-realize-what-it-means move. Apparently they just have these things lying around.
The implications of this are somewhat worrisome: a secretive military organization is getting more funding and better equipment than the struggling civilian/government space program NASA – so much so that it just decided to off-handedly bequeath two of the most powerful satellites known to man. NASA, however, isn’t complaining.

The telescopes, aptly named Telescope One and Telescope Two, have 7.9 feet mirrors, maneuverable secondary mirrors, and 100 times the field of view of the Hubble. So what would these telescopes be capable of doing if they were pointed down instead of up – for instance, when used for ground surveillance by the National Reconnaissance Office? “With a Hubble here you could see a dime sitting on top of the Washington Monument,” NASA official Michael Moore told the Washington Post.

http://politix.topix.com/homepage/1064-nasa-to-get-powerful-spy-satellites-courtesy-of-secret-agency

It’s a Brave New World.

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

…Fast & Furious!…

KOOLAID2 on March 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Ted Cruz just introduced Sarah Palin at CPAC.

birdwatcher on March 16, 2013 at 12:13 PM

…Palin thread in 5….4…3…2…

KOOLAID2 on March 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Meric1837 on March 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

That’s why I prefer boats and subs.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Should we be banning police from using drones if they can afford them? Seems to me it might have been nice to have a fleet of them around when they were chasing Christopher Dorner a little while back. We might have had a few less people in body bags if we’d had them. In the end, the technology isn’t what should be your concern, it’s the laws behind them. Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys. Jazz Shaw

True, however I wonder what you will say when you get your first speeding ticket mailed to you because the highway speeding enforcement drone caught you going 5 miles over the speed limit or the first ticket for not putting out your recycling when the Green Enforcement Drone caught nail you for not being green enough.

Wait until you get the tax drones….

Lots of good intentions have turned out bad in the past. I see nothing wrong with raising red flags to make the sure the police and politicians don’t start using drones for purposes beyond just catching bad guys.

William Eaton on March 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Didn’t they base a movie on concerns like this called Blue Thunder.

Capt_Nemo on March 16, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I was reminded of parts of John Carpenter’s They Live – the hovering, police observation pods – EVERYWHERE.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Sarah Palin….on Cspan now….my favorite line so far on Guns and background checks……….”Mr. President the FBI should have started with yours.”

CoffeeLover on March 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

to make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens

Given the explosion of laws and regulations there are no law abiding citizens when at any given time you could be charged with an average of 3 felonies a day.

You still have to much trust in Government to do the right thing.

chemman on March 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM

ACLUeless

Mazztek on March 16, 2013 at 12:21 PM

KOOLAID2 on March 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

I sure hope so and soon!
L

letget on March 16, 2013 at 12:22 PM

How does the Left contain its juvenile incoherence without exploding?

It promotes and embraces a massive State but bitches about the concomitant police powers and invariable invasions of privacy from the State? They have yet to realize that the invasions of privacy they’ve gleefully and blindly institutionalized with Obamacare are not measurable by any standard we have to measure in America.

rrpjr on March 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Meric1837 on March 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Is it fun? Hard to control? Worth the money just for entertainment?

I want one but dont know if I should lay out the cabbage for it.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Oh yes….EPA drones!

You have a designated “wetland” in your back yard which was actually is a stagnant puddle of water measuring a couple a feet in length. You covered it up…..$300,000 fine….EPA Drone Squad….

William Eaton on March 16, 2013 at 12:26 PM

I was reminded of parts of John Carpenter’s They Live – the hovering, police observation pods – EVERYWHERE.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 16, 2013 at 12:20 PM

Many cities have cameras beyond the stop light and speed cameras. If you’re outside your home assume you’re being watched.

http://www.lawofficer.com/article/news/cameras-will-serve-backup-colu

Which states have speed and or light cameras?

http://www.iihs.org/laws/cameramap.aspx

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

They get cheaper and easier to control every day almost.

Try Amazon, but a hobby shop would be more helpful.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

When the government steps in to tell a private business that they can’t fly a Crow-sized drone because it violates federal air space, that is when I have a problem with government-operated drones.

As with weaponry anything the government can use against me in the drone field, I should be able to possess too.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Agreed.

GaltBlvnAtty on March 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

One of the stable of writers at Huffpo is getting the Left all up in arms

s/b “kennel” of writers…./

ted c on March 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Want to know where the speed and trafic cameras are?

http://www.photoenforced.com/

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Not hard to control at all, you pilot it with your iPad/iPhone. It’s actually stable enough that you can fly it indoors. The software makes its default flight position as stable hover. If you live in an area that doesn’t have much wind, it’s a blast. Got mine for about $300. Be sure you get the ’2.0′ drone, it’s got a 720p camera on it. You can buy aftermarket batteries that boost the flight time, but they’re not cheap.

One of these days (when it’s calm) I want to take it to downtown OKC and fly it between the buildings. That would be great video you couldn’t get any other way.

Meric1837 on March 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

How does the Left contain its juvenile incoherence without exploding?

It promotes and embraces a massive State but whines about the police powers and invariable invasions of privacy from this State? Poor children — they have yet to realize the invasions of privacy they’ve gleefully and blindly institutionalized with Obamacare.

rrpjr on March 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Blue Thunder was more on the nose.

It was about government agents sending agitators in to the poor sections of LA to forment a crisis during the Olympics. Whereupon armed helicopters would be used to quell the disorder.

The reason why the agents were doing this was to get approvial for Blue Thundersto be used all over the country.

Capt_Nemo on March 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

For speed camera’s in Virginia, here is the max penalty the state can enforce:

$50 maximum fine; no court costs; not a criminal offense; no points; may not be used by insurers

IOWs, its about the money.

Drones will quickly be used to enforce laws en masse that have as their only penalty a fine set at a low value, such as “California roll” at a stop sign, improper lane use, following too closely, lawn watering when its not your day, parking too far from the curb, etc.

States are learning fast that they don’t need to raise taxes to increase revenue. Just enforce the laws already on the books through technology.

BobMbx on March 16, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Using Smart phones, Smart TV’s with cameras, drones, satellite, trucks driving through neighborhoods that can peer through homes……..

Welcome to the SURVEILLANCE States of America.

Thank you George W. Bush and your big government TSA/DHS Patriot Act legacy for Obama to embellish.

PappyD61 on March 16, 2013 at 12:38 PM

It creeps me out that anyone would defend domestic drone use. Do you really long for an Orwellian society to that degree?

You go on trying to trade our freedoms for security. The rest of us will be fighting you idiots tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Benaiah on March 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

……….and NOW………add drones flying over your subdivision to the list.

Sorry, you can trot out the “reducing criminal activity” and “helping farmers monitor their crops” all you want but there is ONE REASON that the Federal and state governments want this……

….to monitor AND CONTROL it’s citizens.

PappyD61 on March 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

The same as with the first “argument” above, this is the growth of technology, not of the surveillance state. It’s bound to happen no matter who is using it.

Simplistic thinking. Of course it is the growth of technology. However, without the growth of technology you cannot have the growth of the surveillance state. They go hand in hand.

chemman on March 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

It promotes and embraces a massive State but whines about the police powers and invariable invasions of privacy from this State? Poor children — they have yet to realize the invasions of privacy they’ve gleefully and blindly institutionalized with Obamacare.

rrpjr on March 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

This.

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Meric1837 on March 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Sadly I live in an area of Minnesota where the gulf stream seems to have made its presence known, more windy days than not.

We have a helium blimp that is fun, especially indoors such as my large and high-ceilinged shop, but have not had much luck with planes or helos outdoors.

We tried a Horizon Champ plane which is super easy but defeated by gusts, just need something for the kids to fly over the yard and deck and take photos of themselves being morons.

Bishop on March 16, 2013 at 12:41 PM

“Just a few bad apples” ignores the whole reason for the Constitution. If all there is in the world are a few bad apples, well, we can deal with them. Who needs limitations on government?

The fact is, people are garbage. People love to abuse authority. And people will always confuse authority with power. If I have authority, there are limits on what I can do, since it comes from the law and/or other people. If I have power, I can do whatever pops into my peanut brain.

I’ll never get the crowd that imagines law enforcement is a group comprised of naturally wonderful and trustworthy people, always abiding by their oath and deserving of some kind of presumption of professionality… as opposed to any other random group of people.

Imagine your worst neighbor going through your private things willy nilly any time you’re away. Now consider law enforcement might actually attract a certain type of power-hungry personality, such that the number of these nasty neighbor types is actually a greater among law enforcement than that of a random sample.

One more thing: Cops are like medical doctors. They don’t get rid of the bad ones unless they absolutely have no other option. They don’t take out the trash. They turn their backs on bad behavior. The ignore opportunities to arrest one another. Unlike the case with lawyers, for example, cops and doctors hang tough and don’t rat. It’s part of the culture.

rdbrewer on March 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

It creeps me out that anyone would defend domestic drone use. Do you really long for an Orwellian society to that degree?

You go on trying to trade our freedoms for security. The rest of us will be fighting you idiots tooth and nail to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Benaiah on March 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

So what about satellites , speed cameras, light cameras, community cameras etc etc?

Orwellian society

We’re already there.

CW on March 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM

It’s a case of a few bad apple law enforcement officials going off the reservation.

Always is, huh?

thirtyandseven on March 16, 2013 at 12:44 PM

“Just a few bad apples” ignores the whole reason for the Constitution. If all there is in the world are a few bad apples, well, we can deal with them. Who needs limitations on government?

The fact is, people are garbage. People love to abuse authority. And people will always confuse authority with power. If I have authority, there are limits on what I can do, since it comes from the law and/or other people. If I have power, I can do whatever pops into my peanut brain.

I’ll never get the crowd that imagines law enforcement is a group comprised of naturally wonderful and trustworthy people, always abiding by their oath and deserving of some kind of presumption of professionality… as opposed to any other random group of people.

Imagine your worst neighbor going through your private things willy nilly any time you’re away. Now consider law enforcement might actually attract a certain type of power-hungry personality, such that the number of these nasty neighbor types is actually a greater among law enforcement than that of a random sample.

One more thing: Cops are like medical doctors. They don’t get rid of the bad ones unless they absolutely have no other option. They don’t take out the trash. They turn their backs on bad behavior. The ignore opportunities to arrest one another. Unlike the case with lawyers, for example, cops and doctors hang tough and don’t rat. It’s part of the culture.

rdbrewer on March 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

^^entire comment is so spot on, it deserves to be posted again.

thirtyandseven on March 16, 2013 at 12:47 PM

rdbrewer on March 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Right on. Right on.

Curtiss on March 16, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Barbra Streisand would probably agree.

unclesmrgol on March 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

ROTFLOL. Yeah I’m suuuure they did. Who wants to bet they’re sounding out the manufacturers for a bulk discount?

MelonCollie on March 16, 2013 at 12:55 PM

rdbrewer + 1. I just wrote a long comment along the same line, but erased it accidentally…then cussed a lot. Thanks for the spot on post. Cops are not some saintly warrior priesthood and we don’t need a camera up everyone’s ass.

ronsfi on March 16, 2013 at 1:00 PM

We’re already there.

CW

I agree and I’m against all the other stuff you listed for exactly that reason. Drones will make it worse so I’m against them as well.

Benaiah on March 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

One more thing: Cops are like medical doctors. They don’t get rid of the bad ones unless they absolutely have no other option. They don’t take out the trash. They turn their backs on bad behavior. The ignore opportunities to arrest one another.
rdbrewer on March 16, 2013 at 12:43 PM

One reason I loved the book and movie “Serpico” when I was a kid, though I didn’t know it at the time. I only sensed how difficult it was to resist the cronyism and pressures of a closed, corrupt culture. The film captured his love of police work and his awe in the authority and trust of being a cop, the pain of his disillusion, and his absolute heroic refusal to be corrupted.

rrpjr on March 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

I actually own a drone just like the one pictured on the front page. Lots of fun..

HotAirian on March 16, 2013 at 1:13 PM

If one of these drones park thenselves over my home am I allowed to shoot it down? Then if questioned say I thought it was a neighbors toy and it was spying on my family? Or, and I just thought of this, say I thought it was a burglars drone and it was checking out my home to see if it was worth robbing or to see if anyone was home. With cheap technology everyone could afford his/her own drone. Who says all will be used for good and not evil.

multiuseless on March 16, 2013 at 1:34 PM

The ACLU is upset because they are at present, unable to control drones but when they have a hand in their control it will change their minds. Guaranteed!

mixplix on March 16, 2013 at 1:36 PM

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Far easier and cheaper to install a camera in your own vehicle and always lend THAT to them on their date because you are “concerned for their safety” in his vehicle.

Also legal, since it’s your own vehicle.

PJ Emeritus on March 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Only two things bother me and they don’t include looking at nude people from the air. If people don’t want to be seen, they should go inside. Flying near a window violates federal flight regulations as does flying in a garage. Entering into the garage is an unreasonable search and violates the Constitution.

burt on March 16, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Drones will find even more usage domestically. GIS.

Mapping.

Logus on March 16, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Secret FBI letters ruled unconstitutional.

Schadenfreude on March 16, 2013 at 2:00 PM

PETA has already found out what happens when you fly your drone over private property during a dove hunt.

Maybe Biden has something there about owning a shotgun.

GarandFan on March 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Lost cause. Business has had micro drones for several years now. RFID tells who bought, where it went, how long it was stored, where it was stored. CTV can track you to Dairy Queen and report to your Peanut Buster Parfait to Mr Bloomberg. The drones be here. Soon smaller than a flea and twice the storage capacity of the Library of Congress. The future is grand, ain’t it?

Limerick on March 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM


Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.

I dunno, but it looks like this slipped by the commentators, and that concerns me.

For the record, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution DO NOT apply, only to the law abiding citizens.

They apply to every citizen.

And Jazz Shaw’s comment, quite frankly, scares the shit out of me.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 16, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Sarah who?

PappyD61 on March 16, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Can one “blind” a drone with a laser pointer?

albill on March 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

albill on March 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

It can affect the camera, but it can also land you in jail for a federal offense.

Lasers are a dangerous weapon you know.

cozmo on March 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Can one “blind” a drone with a laser pointer?

albill on March 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Sure, if it’s like the LaserGrip on my 1911.

merlich on March 16, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Well, Jazz … each weekend you roll out another article further establishinh your credentials as a aspiring member of the GOPe-media.

Here’s a link to an 19th century, elitist solution to the messy problem of a democratic society:

http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/newhistoricism/modules/foucaultcarceral.html

Jeremy Bentham’s nineteenth-century prison reforms provide Foucault with a representative model for what happens to society in the nineteenth century. Bentham argued in The “Panopticon” that the perfect prison would be structured in a such a way that cells would be open to a central tower. In the model, individuals in the cells do not interact with each other and are constantly confronted by the panoptic tower (pan=all; optic=seeing). They cannot, however, see when there is a person in the tower; they must believe that they could be watched at any moment: “the inmate must never know whether he is being looked at at any one moment; but he must be sure that he may always be so”

Bentham saw this prison reform as a model for how society should function. To maintain order in a democratic and capitalist society, the populace needs to believe that any person could be surveilled at any time. In time, such a structure would ensure that the people would soon internalize the panoptic tower and police themselves: “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection” (Foucault, Discipline 202-203).

This system of control has, arguably, been aided in our own culture by new technological advancements that allow federal agencies to track your movement and behavior (the internet, telephones, cell phones, social security numbers, the census, ATMs, credit cards, and the ever increasing number of surveillance cameras in urban spaces). By carceral culture, Foucault refers to a culture in which the panoptic model of surveillance has been diffused as a principle of social organization, affecting such disparate things as the university classroom (see right for a prison school that resembles some classroom auditoriums); urban planning (organized on a grid structure to facilitate movement but also to discourage concealment); hospital and factory architecture; and so on. As Foucault puts it, the Panopticon.

.
Should we spend time bemoaning the fall of the Third Reich, Jazz?

Hitler came SO close but he didn’t have all the technology we have today to realize his dream.

PolAgnostic on March 16, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Snake307 is precisely on target. Use of drone aircraft for surveillance in the U.S., except possibly with 1 km of an international border, should simply be outlawed. If not outlawed, at a minimum the use of firearms or other defensive means to shoot down the drones should be permitted, even in urban areas. As the latter is dangerous, simply outlawing such surveillance methods is the way to go.

And, any government official (this includes police) who authorizes such surveillance should face felony charges.

Henry Bowman on March 16, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Irony

Yes, we will have more of these.

Raise your hand if you believe that lots of nuts and bolts flying in the air makes for a better society.

IlikedAUH2O on March 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.

LOL

Good luck with that./

S. D. on March 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM

S. D. on March 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM

AMEN.

The main saving grace of our judicial system is that it is usually makes itself scarce.

Look how just and fair our traffic offense system is. A New York State trooper wrote a book about it. The guy passing you at 110 either doesn’t have a license or is a cop’s brother and the population knows it.

Then us poor average schmucks get nailed for 8 miles over the limit or worse, by some red light camera in Florida, and have to fork over $159 !

IlikedAUH2O on March 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Drones are only an intermediary spying and elimination technique until AmSoc (American Socialists) pre-install stealth software on every TV set, smart phone, desktop and landline that can see, hear and record all human activity 24/7. The boys at Langley can have the double pleasure of watching your sexcapades and recording your income tax( and sundry other violations such as stating “my president is a rat-eared POS.”

MaiDee on March 16, 2013 at 7:07 PM

http://iarc.angel-strike.com/symposium2012.php

Oh Boy!! I can’t wait until my local police department or neighbors get a few of these!!!

WryTrvllr on March 16, 2013 at 8:54 PM

I’m going to help Jazz Shaw out a little here. As a former intel officer in a midsized police department I get dismayed when I hear the “they already know everything about us.” statement I hear people say, when dismissing the phenomenal level of encroachment into our private lives. It is far more real than they even realize. If people really understood the depths in which law enforcement can dig into a person and everybody that person every knew, the people saying that would not be so flippant.

However, when I did it, there were limits at the time covering who we could investigate, who we could retain information over and very strict legal limits on our authority. Ironically, many of those limits came from the federal government, the same group that is now arguing it should have carte blance concerning the collection of your information- without warrant or probable cause.

Where Jazz goes wrong here is the level of intrusion. At some point there is no privacy issues anymore because the “privacy” has been stripped away from us by the government using arguments that frankly are so far advanced beyond the scope of any court to fathom that judges just go “Uh, sounds okay to me…I think.” and rule.

Ask yourself this question. How did it become okay that just because the police (and remember I was one for a generation- and a very, very good one) are flying over you, your expectation of privacy has been removed? Further, years ago, we (law enforcement) used to use FLIR to find grow houses. That was a pretty specific tool targeting a very obvious element of a crime. (Heat from the house was a dead giveaway) The courts ruled that was intrusive. We were using “extra” technology beyond the naked eye or binoculars. That was the “standard. Now the same court which took a deep breath, and struggled, on that type of ruling is asked to comprehend the technology deployed against citizens today. If the courts have a problem with me looking for a heat signature, how is it they don’t see a problem with a plane that can loiter over your head for a day and see what you are reading from fifteen thousand feet- just because you made the mistake of stepping outside? Do you own “outside” or do they? Do you “own” any personal space? (Can I read your lips or put laser on your window to hear you conversations? Seriously, technically, the sound waves that hit the glass have reached the outside, and I “own” the outside..right?)

In addition, how is it that we expect our communications, papers, body, thoughts (our thoughts are on our papers and spoken in our homes, sent via email, txt, etc.) and homes to be protected by the fourth amendment. Yet, the government argues the second we send an email, make a cellphone call, send a text they have the right to snatch that information out of the air NOT because you are a target of an investigation, but that you MIGHT commit a crime someday and they want to be able to backtrack your activities for years. (??)

Because judges don’t grasp the significance of the intrusive nature of the technology they are ruling for the government in many of those issues. You say, “I don’t care, I’m not a bad guy.” Not true. “bad guy” is controlled by the opinion of the people in power. Like one poster said “you break three laws a day.” That is VERY true! You dig a pond in your backyard. You are not a bad guy. The EPA rules your dry backyard is a wetland and suddenly you are in jail…a bad guy. See??

Jazz Shaw is far too flippant. This is bad. Domestic drones are bad.

Imagine you driving ten miles over the speed limit- set by a bureaucrat- no cops around, no other traffic, no real threat to anyone, and happen to be spotted by an inexpensive drone loitering overhead. You get out of your car, look up to see the sunny sky and two days later the police are at your door with a ticket. Do you really think that kind or level of police surveillance was ever considered proper by our founding fathers or even the society many of us were raised in a short forty years ago?

When I was working I followed two main principles- 1. “First do no harm.” If I found myself hurting innocent people to get to a bad guy, I knew I needed to review what I was doing and why. 2. “Just because you can, does not mean you should.” This rule is being ignored by the people in power. To them, they have been running roughshod over the Constitution for so long, without accountability, they cannot see how far they have strayed. To them, if what they are doing is what they want to do, then that is good enough. Rights be damned.

You have no idea how bad this is going to get.

archer52 on March 16, 2013 at 10:12 PM

So when are we going to start calling them what they really are…RC toys.

And I hope none of you police starers complain when they get used to fine you for your shed that’s too big or your illegal vegetable garden or because your neighbors cows wandered onto your land.

Its amazing tome how some people can jump from a get the govt off my back mindset to a local police depts should be armed like the US military mindset.

Spliff Menendez on March 16, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Make sure that the government respects the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens and let them have the tools they need to catch the actual bad guys.

There is no such thing as a law-abiding citizen in America.

Spliff Menendez on March 16, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Can one “blind” a drone with a laser pointer?

albill on March 16, 2013 at 3:30 PM

.
For anyone who wanders back around to this thread, the drones used by government can not be blinded by a laser pointer.

PolAgnostic on March 16, 2013 at 10:50 PM

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