Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Are drones coming to a police department near you? Possibly.
Next thing you know, they’ll be pepper spraying you from 10,000 feet.
From Yahoo News:
Los Angeles (AFP) – Drones are increasingly making their mark in the arsenal of US police forces, operating in a legal gray area and sparking concerns of constant surveillance of civilians.
Since 2012, government agencies can use small drones — weighing less than 55 pounds, or 25 kilograms — under certain conditions and after obtaining a certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.
But the FAA, which is preparing small drone regulations, does not have authority on privacy protection and there is no specific framework on the issue on a national level.
Up to two dozen police forces are currently fully equipped with drones and trained to use them, including pioneers Grand Forks in North Dakota; Arlington, Texas; Mesa County, Colorado and the Utah Highway Patrol.
According to the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, at least 60 police forces across the country — from Houston, Texas, to Mobile, Alabama, North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Miami-Dade County — have asked for drone certification.
The FBI also uses drones for specific missions
Rights groups are not opposed to drones as such but rather are concerned that some law enforcement agencies will use them for constant surveillance of the population.
Silly conspiracy theorists. Your government loves you, and would never surreptitiously spy on you.
“Without proper regulation, drones equipped with facial recognition software, infrared technology and speakers capable of monitoring personal conversations would cause unprecedented invasions of our privacy rights,” the ACLU said.
“Tiny drones could go completely unnoticed while peering into the window of a home or place of worship.”
The Electronic Privacy Information Center, for one, is calling for a warrant before each police drone flight.
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