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Do You Want the Police to Use Drones?

News 2011/01/24 18:00:00
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It’s one thing when the government uses unmanned drones to fly over Pakistan and Afghanistan to root out the bad guys taking potshots at our troops. But what if one of those little buzz bombs was zipping around over your backyard during a weekend BBQ where some of your friends were, well, indulging?

It’s a scenario that might become more common soon as local and national law enforcement agencies turn to drone technology to carry out domestic surveillance and stings using methods that some privacy experts are saying could infringe on our rights.

From bird-sized devices called Wasps to larger aircraft, The Washington Post reported that the drones can hover silently over a suspect while shooting high-definition live video to agents on the ground. Drones are already patrolling the border with Mexico, joining searches for missing persons in rough terrain, flying into hurricanes to collect data and tracking the spread of forest fires, but are they legal to use in domestic law enforcement?

The Post reported that their use in high-risk operation is very rare at the moment, with the FAA requiring the few police departments that use drones to seek emergency authorization if they want to deploy one in a live operation. Because of safety concerns, those permissions are rarely granted.

But the FAA suspects that in just two years it will have new rules that would allow police from coast-to-coast to fly lightweight, unarmed drones up to 400 feet above the ground. Virtually invisible at that height, they would allow police to record the activities of the public using high-resolution, infrared and thermal-imaging cameras. Some drones are already equipped with artificial intelligence that helps them seek out certain kinds of suspicious activity.

The Post is predicting that the power of some of the cameras on these drones will likely elicit fresh court challenges in search-and-seizure cases and questions about the technology’s potential misuse.

"Drones raise the prospect of much more pervasive surveillance," said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union's Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. "We are not against them, absolutely. They can be a valuable tool in certain kinds of operations. But what we don't want to see is their pervasive use to watch over the American people."

Legal experts said that while cops can use the drones in tactical operations to view public spaces, they will have to still obtain warrants to spy on private homes.

Are you OK with cops using drones in surveillance operations?

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Top Opinion

  • AustinEngy 2011/01/24 18:47:06
    No
    AustinEngy
    +10
    The government people should not have things the people cannot. Using fear to pass laws is not how things should be done.
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    ~4th Amendment
    If the police can just fly over your house and see what you are doing, I'm pretty sure that would be an unreasonable search.

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Opinions

  • Treecat 2011/01/27 17:30:16
    No
    Treecat
    No, they'd remind me too much of these:

    remind half life 2 drones

    o.O
  • TN_Bimbo. Treecat 2011/01/31 13:02:58
    TN_Bimbo.
    here's whats next...
  • Venus in Furs 2011/01/27 14:34:31
    Yes
    Venus in Furs
    As long as they're only surveying, I don't see what the problem is. There are some times when footage of a criminal is not available or even when the criminal still remains at large. This would help get criminals out and into jail. If the drones aren't going to apprehend, merely watch, that's fine. I know after living with annoying neighbors who like to blow of fireworks that I'd like one of those drones to look at what they were doing. It could even save lives of law enforcement workers.
  • soyousay 2011/01/27 07:51:34
    No
    soyousay
    +4


    I kind of feel like the government is always there anyway watching us.
  • whitebear62 2011/01/26 14:05:16
    No
    whitebear62
    +2
    Given the choices, I had to pick No because there are too many violations of rights by police as it is. Theoretically, I would say that the use of drones should be subject to a warrant. If there is enough evidence to secure a warrant then use the drones. Probable cause could also be used if it weren't for the fact that it is already stretched to breaking.
  • Alex Oger 2011/01/26 00:35:35
    Yes
    Alex Oger
    +1
    YES PLEASE I RAN OUT OF CLAY PIDGEONS
  • ValorNET 2011/01/25 23:04:05
    No
    ValorNET
    +3
    Like what we want will stop them? Ha.
    I will NEVER sacrifice my liberty for false sanctuary.
  • havoc ValorNET 2011/02/13 11:53:27
    havoc
    Just like on Mirrors Edge
  • infekt 2011/01/25 20:56:39
    No
    infekt
    +2
    hell no. they should not even go near our property without permission
  • merlinskiss 2011/01/25 18:06:07
    No
    merlinskiss
    +1
    I said no but , the police use helicopters and planes now so ultimately, what is the difference?
  • orly? merlins... 2011/01/25 18:41:45
    orly?
    +1
    The drones are much smaller (down to the size of a bird) and can hover over you silently. As overused as the word is, that sounds pretty fricken Orwellian to me.
  • merlins... orly? 2011/01/25 18:59:34
    merlinskiss
    Sort of like the camera and advertising blimps at football games. Think they have a sniper on board just in case?
  • TN_Bimbo. merlins... 2011/01/31 12:55:22
    TN_Bimbo.
    +1
    Nooo, they're just watching and reporting traffic accidents for radiostations...riiiight!!!
  • merlins... TN_Bimbo. 2011/01/31 14:41:37
    merlinskiss
    LOL
  • PanDuh 2011/01/25 18:03:34
  • Swany 2011/01/25 17:12:22
    No
    Swany
    +2
    They are made in China.
  • TN_Bimbo. Swany 2011/01/31 12:56:51
    TN_Bimbo.
    +1
    China?..oh, they'll fall after 10 day's then...xD hahahahha
  • Watermusicranger 2011/01/25 17:09:16
    No
    Watermusicranger
    +4
    They will abuse their power and screw it up anyway.
  • Georgia50 2011/01/25 17:02:16
    Yes
    Georgia50
    On or below the Mexican border. Other'n that, paint a target on them and offer prizes.
  • Alex Oger Georgia50 2011/01/26 00:36:38
    Alex Oger
    +1
    WHAT ABOUT CANADA ? ILLEGALS COME IN THRUOGH THERE TOO
  • Georgia50 Alex Oger 2011/01/26 00:42:53
    Georgia50
    +2
    Yeah, but first they have to get into Canada. Maybe I'm missing something, but my understanding is that illegal border crossings with Canada are not all that common.
  • Alex Oger Georgia50 2011/01/26 00:46:27
    Alex Oger
    +1
    BUT THEY HAPPEN WE ARE BEING INVADED FROM ALL AROUND EAST WEST SOUTH AND NORTH YOUR BASIC ANGLOS JUST COME FROM THERE CAUSE IT'S SO LAXED AND THE EAST WEST AND SOUTHARE MAINLY HISPANICS AND ASIANS THROUGH OUR DOCKS IN OUR WESTERN SEAPORTS
  • chuck 2011/01/25 16:55:03
    Yes
    chuck
    +1
    only with a worent
  • orly? 2011/01/25 16:51:41
  • Swany orly? 2011/01/25 17:19:29
    Swany
    +1
    The best place for a crook to hide is behind a badge.
  • BobHauser Swany 2011/01/26 05:56:43
    BobHauser
    +1
    "Patriotism is the final refuge of the scoundrel"........
  • Ellen H 2011/01/25 16:32:34
    No
    Ellen H
    +1
    Police are Drones. War Clones made in test tubes. Cyble-Cybernetics being done again now.
    China creating cybles (women made out of male sperm and male rib bone marrow DNA) Eve was and is again male. An infinitive process that goes-on over centuries of total world nuclear holocaust. infinitive hell, centuries of cops bellering bad mothers and politics, and thrill slaughter women & childr
  • bob 2011/01/25 16:26:15
    No
    bob
    +1
    Each new thing we lose personal freedom.
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾ 2011/01/25 16:25:12
    Yes
    ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾
    +2
    if your not doing anything wrong you got nothing to worry about

    privacy? the moment your outside you have no privacy
    privacy is what you do inside your home not outside of it
  • BobHauser ☥☽✪☾DAW... 2011/01/26 05:55:09
    BobHauser
    +1
    So why don't you walk around town butt naked?
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW... BobHauser 2011/01/26 05:58:53 (edited)
    ☥☽✪☾DAW ☽✪☾
    that is against the law
    i often walk around my house naked
    i am not breaking any law doing that inside my own home
  • BobHauser ☥☽✪☾DAW... 2011/01/26 21:56:00
    BobHauser
    +1
    You say that exact same thing that cops say in the same words when they want to "come inside" ----if you haven't done anything wrong, you got (sic) nothing to worry about. That is superbly naive and the tragedy is that ignorant dimwits like you vote----no wonder this country is a septic tank. Were you aware of the fact that back in 1974 this country had a total of 147 MILLION "laws" and that the number has at least tripled to the point where now there are three separate and distinct "laws" for every two people loose on our streets or in our gulags.....do you think you could make it from your bed to your bathroom in the morning without breaking probably fifty "laws" you didn't even know existed? So how do you know you've never done anything wrong like some kind of comic strip brownie or some damned thing? ...the Founding Fathers, vastly wiser than drips like you, gave us a Fourth Amendment for many good reasons and if you are too stupid to realize that you deserve to lose everything...as you soon will, your own life most likely included.
  • Phil 2011/01/25 16:22:30
    Yes
    Phil
    +1
    Most people can't even walk the streets of their own town for all the crime. I want as many eyes out there as can be had. And for those who might call me crazy try having a gun stuck in your face like I have. Not once but twice.
  • TLR Phil 2011/01/29 17:49:51
    TLR
    Reverting to a Police State is not the answer. If we allow a Police State, we are inviting Communism. Unfortuneately, we need to do the best we can, with what we have.
  • Phil TLR 2011/01/30 04:21:24
  • TLR Phil 2011/01/30 16:41:54
    TLR
    Get your Police Department taken over by the Sheriff then. I grow tomatoes, but I don't use that kinda $hit.LOL
  • lee 2011/01/25 16:08:51
    No
    lee
    +1
    do we have a choice?

    they are going to use them anyway.
  • cmdrbnd007 2011/01/25 15:49:55
    No
    cmdrbnd007
    +2
    No I don't it smacks too much of 1984! I guess Orwell was right, Big Brother is now truly watching.
  • ☥☽✪☾DAW... cmdrbnd007 2011/01/25 16:23:53
  • Rave 2011/01/25 15:39:15
    No
    Rave
    +4
    No. I wouldn't want police to have any more power then they already have. I hear enough about police abusing their power and I don't trust this or them one bit unless I have reason to. I've witnessed police abuse at first hand and I am very against a world where you are constantly spied on and monitored by the government and just other people who happen to be police. For those who say, "well it's okay, I don't have anything to hide" I can't understand that. Your freedom is being taken away from you, rather or not you have something to hide. We might as well live in George Orwell's 1984 if we let them take complete power over us.
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