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Author Topic: To Drone or NOT to Drone?  (Read 3730 times)

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Offline MonfangTopic starter

To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« on: February 22, 2013, 11:00:07 AM »
That is the question! For is it better to protect our homeland by using remote controlled aircraft systems to find those in need of help, fleeing criminals, and help guide officers. Or to protect our privacy from robots peeking over our privacy fences and into our bedroom windows?

This is the debate going on in the US. I won't use this to speak about the use of drones to launch strikes into other nations for that is a different debate. This is one focusing on the use of it by Police, Rescue and other public services to help them do their jobs faster and with more success.

Public Services have been asking for the technology sense the US military released it's designs and they were made cost effective by private companies. With these, you can have Game Wardens roaming the forests at a much faster pace to locate poachers. Mountain Rescue could locate those in need of help faster than a helicopter can such as stranded hikers or those caught in an avalanche. This technology could be used to find lost children, locate hidden criminals, aid in police chases, and many other uses that have yet to be explored.

However, Privacy Advocates have been arguing one thing, invasion of privacy. Talking about using these drones to 'see into backyards' and 'peek into bedroom windows'. They told us that the police would use them to scan the skies 24/7, watching us all the time whether we liked it or not. What little privacy you would get from the public spaces could be stripped away as these weaponized systems scanned your homes with infrared and night vision cameras before launching attacks without warning.



Now that the setting and here is my side. Privacy Advocates need to calm the hell down. This is the drone you might think of when you think of drones:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Scary isn't it? Look at all those missiles and bombs. It's a death machine! Here's what Public Services want to use:

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Aww, it's so cute! Yes, that is from Britain, but it shows the actual size of these drones. They aren't weapons of war, but more of cameras on an extra large RC toy. Has the battery life of one too. As apposed to the Big bad Military drone, these little things can fly for maybe a few hours at most before it putters out. The one on the picture? 20 minutes, maybe. That's just long enough for a quick search or a scan of an area, but not enough to keep watch on you all day. Not to mention their range is very short, the controller has to be nearby or it flies on a preprogrammed flight. And it isn't going far anyway with that little range.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6676809.stm

Still, that can peek into bedroom windows and over privacy fences, right? Sure, and so can any Joe with a wireless camera and an RC toy, as I said that's all they are. There are actual RC toys that come with actual cameras built in. No one is attacking them. And if you are worried about people peeking into your backyard, better put a tarp up because I can go on Google Maps and see into it just fine. Or maybe rent a helicopter and just fly over town. There are cameras built that can see the blades of grass from a helicopter at it's max height.

All I see is fear mongering and an attempt to keep worthwhile tools out of the hands of people who just want to do a better job of protecting us.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 11:48:15 AM by Monfang »

Offline hippyness

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2013, 12:13:28 PM »
Although not such a big fan of this, personally there's not going to be any stopping these organizations from using the drones if they want to and can afford to. It's the American way.

Does anyone remember the huge fuss when the airports developed cameras that could see through clothing? There was a huge argument of privacy, security workers did in fact abuse the technology repeatedly and now no one really talks about it until another paid by the hour rent a cop checks out some girls boobs.

The drones are very different as they serve a useful purpose beyond taking nudie pictures, and it would take some work to use them in such a light, but I enjoy distopian future stories and I feel we are heading very quickly towards that.

Offline elone

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 01:09:21 PM »
Search and rescue, yes. Border patrol, yes. Emergencies, yes.

Just flying around on patrol randomly over some town, I don't think so. If police want to use them, let there be a method of obtaining a warrant that outlines a specific use. We already have cameras peeking at is, drones step over the line. Also, when one crashes into my house, even the little ones, who is held responsible for that. Time magazine had an article about their lack of stability and reliability.

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 01:16:28 PM »
Search and rescue, yes. Border patrol, yes. Emergencies, yes.

Just flying around on patrol randomly over some town, I don't think so. If police want to use them, let there be a method of obtaining a warrant that outlines a specific use. We already have cameras peeking at is, drones step over the line. Also, when one crashes into my house, even the little ones, who is held responsible for that. Time magazine had an article about their lack of stability and reliability.
I already stated that their battery life of these machines don't allow for random patrols no more than the cost to put a helicopter in the air allows them to patrol the skies all the time as it is now.

And the stability and reliability, if there is one as I haven't heard of any such problems, would be yet another reason why they won't be using them all the time and why they are only being brought in for trial runs.

Offline hippyness

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2013, 01:19:18 PM »
Also, when one crashes into my house, even the little ones, who is held responsible for that. Time magazine had an article about their lack of stability and reliability.

To quote a Mister Gil Grissom, "We don't do that."

If it crashes into your house, the operating precinct might by law be required to pay but there will be long drawn out law suits and cities not wanting to cover it and you having to prove there was no reason of the crashing.

Offline Oniya

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Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 01:28:48 PM »
Search and rescue, yes. Border patrol, yes. Emergencies, yes.

Just flying around on patrol randomly over some town, I don't think so. If police want to use them, let there be a method of obtaining a warrant that outlines a specific use. We already have cameras peeking at is, drones step over the line. Also, when one crashes into my house, even the little ones, who is held responsible for that. Time magazine had an article about their lack of stability and reliability.

I like the idea of requiring a 'warrant' of sorts, thereby complying with the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search.  My sister does some S&R in the course of her paramedic work, and they were actually called out this morning to look for a missing teen.  (By the way, they already market RC toys with cameras in them, and you're far more likely to have the neighbors' kids using one of those to peek in your windows than the cops.)

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 02:37:56 PM »
I like the idea of requiring a 'warrant' of sorts, thereby complying with the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search.  My sister does some S&R in the course of her paramedic work, and they were actually called out this morning to look for a missing teen.  (By the way, they already market RC toys with cameras in them, and you're far more likely to have the neighbors' kids using one of those to peek in your windows than the cops.)
The way the law is written, anything visable from the outside of the house is considered not to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

But I want to make sure this is clear, the technology as it stands now is not powerful enough to go from house to house peeking into windows. And even if it was, THAT would be considered something way too close to a door to door search and wouldn't be done for ethical reasons rather than legal reasons.

Offline Oniya

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Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 02:43:13 PM »
The way the law is written, anything visable from the outside of the house is considered not to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

But I want to make sure this is clear, the technology as it stands now is not powerful enough to go from house to house peeking into windows. And even if it was, THAT would be considered something way too close to a door to door search and wouldn't be done for ethical reasons rather than legal reasons.

True, but if you're dealing with the ones that have IR capability, 'visible' takes on new parameters.  (Fun note:  If your neighbor looks in your window and sees you nude, they can not accuse you of indecent exposure unless you are specifically directing your attention/actions at the window as well.  Running to the kitchen and crossing in front of your front picture window while naked is not 'exposing yourself'.) 

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 02:45:06 PM »
True, but if you're dealing with the ones that have IR capability, 'visible' takes on new parameters.  (Fun note:  If your neighbor looks in your window and sees you nude, they can not accuse you of indecent exposure unless you are specifically directing your attention/actions at the window as well.  Running to the kitchen and crossing in front of your front picture window while naked is not 'exposing yourself'.)
I have a feeling they would treat IR capability that can go though solid walls as going a bit far. That would require a warrant.

Offline hippyness

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 03:14:21 PM »
The way the law is written, anything visable from the outside of the house is considered not to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

But I want to make sure this is clear, the technology as it stands now is not powerful enough to go from house to house peeking into windows. And even if it was, THAT would be considered something way too close to a door to door search and wouldn't be done for ethical reasons rather than legal reasons.

I think we are moving beyond the technology as it is now. I know I for one try to look to the future of this. Sure, as we post they flying camera can't last very long. But solar energy is slowly progressing, cameras are getting WAY too detailed and fancy (if you don't know there's a camera called Lytro https://www.lytro.com/camera that can take pictures that can be refocused after the picture is taken while some retail stores have HD security cameras) so these fears could manifest in the years to come when this drone has become too ingrained in police work to be stopped or removed.

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2013, 03:22:15 PM »
Sure, in the future it might be possible. However there is still the cost and the time required to do the things people worry about. And also about the law that would come into effect.

Offline hippyness

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2013, 03:36:07 PM »
What law would come into effect? (I may have missed or misunderstood a post if this has been covered)

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Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2013, 03:36:33 PM »
According to USLegal.com and their comments regarding ownership of airspace it might be argued that just as a warrant or probable cause is necessary for physical search of private property the same might be required of drone search and observation.  It will probably take some legislative or judicial action to set precident for this.

Quote
The air is generally a public highway and the airspace overhead is part of the public domain[ii].  But, if a landowner is to have full enjoyment of his/her land, s/he must have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere[iii].  Accordingly, a landowner is protected against intrusions in the airspace immediate and direct as to subtract from the owner’s full enjoyment of the property and to limit his/her exploitation of it[iv].


Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2013, 03:43:41 PM »
What law would come into effect? (I may have missed or misunderstood a post if this has been covered)
I.. Can't remember. I"m sure I was thinking of it when I wrote it, but I can't remember now.

According to USLegal.com and their comments regarding ownership of airspace it might be argued that just as a warrant or probable cause is necessary for physical search of private property the same might be required of drone search and observation.  It will probably take some legislative or judicial action to set precident for this.

Would Extenuating Circumstances, the same that allow officers to issue a search if time wouldn't allow for a warrant to be issued before harm comes to innocents, come into effect then if they were searching for a criminal hiding among homes to use drones to get into private airspace?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2013, 03:52:53 PM »
The police don't need a warrant to navigate your property when chasing someone so I think the drone would be permitted in that case.  A suspect observed entering a dwelling would most likely give them probable cause to enter so a drone observation could probably do that as well. 

We're getting into specifics here that are going to have to be evaluated on a case by case basis until here is sufficient precedent established to satisfy most everyone.  There are too many what ifs to not cause arguments or nitpicking right now.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2013, 03:54:11 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2013, 04:00:30 PM »
So back to the overall problem, the claim that police would use these to spy on the public Big Brother style and peek into your bedroom window like opposition argues. I want to point out the main problem with these ideas.

Why would they?

Why would the police waste the money it would take to have those things active all day and night just to fly over areas of the city. Police officers make patrols because it is better to have them out across the roads so they can take action for a wide variety of issues, but drones have a much narrower use than officers that they would only be sent out for those specific situations. Drones can't make arrests or settle domestic disputes that officers do the majority of their time.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 04:20:10 PM »
I have a feeling they would treat IR capability that can go though solid walls as going a bit far. That would require a warrant.

I would have thought that as well. till the court decision came down that the authorities can track your GPS enabled phones without a warrant and use your contact list on your phone if you have it on you when they detain you. They can read email, IMs or whatever if your phone is unlocked without a warrant.

Civil liberties aren't what they used to be.

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 04:25:03 PM »
I would have thought that as well. till the court decision came down that the authorities can track your GPS enabled phones without a warrant and use your contact list on your phone if you have it on you when they detain you. They can read email, IMs or whatever if your phone is unlocked without a warrant.

Civil liberties aren't what they used to be.
Chances are, the way they see it, it's the same as if you have a written or typed letter on your person when they arrest you. They can open and read it without a warrant. That phone is a portal to all those papers you might carry in a briefcase. So do you treat the phone differently than you do a briefcase or the same?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 04:34:56 PM »
Chances are, the way they see it, it's the same as if you have a written or typed letter on your person when they arrest you. They can open and read it without a warrant. That phone is a portal to all those papers you might carry in a briefcase. So do you treat the phone differently than you do a briefcase or the same?

Thing is.. email is TYPICALLY considered privileged. IE.. if you seize a computer.. you normally have to obtain a warrant to use/look in it.

Offline hippyness

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2013, 04:44:44 PM »
So back to the overall problem, the claim that police would use these to spy on the public Big Brother style and peek into your bedroom window like opposition argues. I want to point out the main problem with these ideas.

Why would they?

Why would the police waste the money it would take to have those things active all day and night just to fly over areas of the city. Police officers make patrols because it is better to have them out across the roads so they can take action for a wide variety of issues, but drones have a much narrower use than officers that they would only be sent out for those specific situations. Drones can't make arrests or settle domestic disputes that officers do the majority of their time.

Agreed on the why would they but having met plenty of police, the question is not "why", but "why not". If they have the ability it will happen. Maybe not wide spread and no, not every office trained and outfitted with the drone would. But there will be the one guy who's going to do what he wants with his new found power to abuse.

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2013, 04:52:41 PM »
All I see is another reason to get my FCC license and get a frequency scanner/jammer for fun games.. but then I'm a mean tool.

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2013, 05:05:26 PM »
Thing is.. email is TYPICALLY considered privileged. IE.. if you seize a computer.. you normally have to obtain a warrant to use/look in it.
So just because it happens to be on a phone and on your person while you are arrested, it isn't privileged? That does need to be fixed.

Agreed on the why would they but having met plenty of police, the question is not "why", but "why not". If they have the ability it will happen. Maybe not wide spread and no, not every office trained and outfitted with the drone would. But there will be the one guy who's going to do what he wants with his new found power to abuse.
That sounds like a specific officer that would be handled in a specific situation. Don't punish the whole because of individuals.

Offline elone

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2013, 12:43:04 AM »
Maybe it is just me, but I just don't like the idea that I can be watched by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

From Feb. 11, Time Magazine. Some interesting items about drones. UAS is acronym for Unmanned  Aircraft System

"The GAO report also mentioned "privacy concerns over the collection and use of UAS-acquired data." A lot of people share those concerns. Drones are the most powerful surveillance tool ever devised, on- or offline. A Reaper drone equipped with the Air Force's appropriately named Gorgon Stare sensor package, for example, can surveil an area 2½ miles across from 12 angles at once. Its field of view swallows entire cities. The Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has produced an imaging system called ARGUS that can pick out an object 6 in. long from 20,000 ft. in the air. In a story worthy of the Onion, USA Today reported in December that Air Force officials were so swamped with the 327,384 hours of drone footage taken last year, they consulted with ESPN about how to edit it down to the highlights, à la SportsCenter.

Imagine how Americans would feel if the Gorgon Stared at them. It's not a hypothetical. In June 2011 a county sheriff in North Dakota was trying to track down three men, possibly carrying guns, in connection with some missing cows. He had a lot of ground to cover, so — as one does — he called in a Predator drone from a local Air Force base. It not only spotted the men but could see that they were in fact unarmed. It was the first time a Predator had been involved in the arrest of U.S. citizens.

Exactly how often Predators have been seconded to local law-enforcement agencies in this manner isn't known; that information is the object of a pending Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But there's at least one Reaper equipped with Gorgon Stare at large in the U.S. Legislators from both parties, in North Dakota and elsewhere, are scrambling to throw legal restraints around the domestic use of drones. In Virginia, the relevant bill is supported by both the ACLU and the Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots.

And that's just the government. Drones don't care who they work for. They'll spy for anyone, and as they get cheaper and more powerful and easier to use, access to military-grade surveillance technology will get easier too. Voracious as they are for information, drones could take a serious chunk out of Americans' already dwindling stock of personal privacy. It's certainly not legal to fly a drone up 10 stories to peer through the curtains into somebody's bedroom, but it's just as certain that somebody's going to do it, if they haven't already. Last February an animal-rights group in South Carolina launched a drone to watch a group of hunters on a pigeon shoot on private property. The hunters promptly shot it down. It might be America's first case of human-on-drone violence, but it won't be the last."

Offline MonfangTopic starter

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2013, 01:15:10 AM »
Elone, I can honestly tell you need to hear this.

Relax.

So far, we have one case, a case where a sheriff only used the drones to locate known criminals, something I think we all want them to be used for. They didn't kill citizens with them inside the US border. They didn't spy into innocent civilian's homes. They didn't do anything that couldn't have been done with a helicopter with a camera attached to it.

Human on drone violence. That's cute. Um, ya what the animal-right's group did was illegal and yes I am sure that someone with an RC toy that comes with or had a camera attached to it has used it to spy on people. And no one raised a fuss then. The only difference is that we all have this image stuck in our heads of these war machines the military uses rather than the machines the police use that are actually a tenth of the size of those if that!

Offline Iniquitous

Re: To Drone or NOT to Drone?
« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2013, 06:44:27 AM »
Monfang I take it you've never heard the analogy 'put a frog in hot water and it'll jump right out. Put a frog in cold water and heat the water slowly, it'll sit there and boil to death."

You say 'relax'. I say pay attention. Here's another one for you. If you think you can trust the government, talk to a Native American. They certainly are not working in -our- best interest.