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Old August 17, 2012, 05:46 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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Domestic drones?

Some of you may have seen an article or three suggesting that domestic police departments are starting to look at the use of unmanned drones for surveillance and related operations. Various organizations have expressed major concerns about the potential this could open up for abuse, and violations of a number of civil rights ... most especially, I expect, the 4th Amendment protections against warrantless searches.

Apparently, this initiative is a LOT farther along than I had any idea of, and it seems the nation's chiefs of police have actually been paying some semblance of attention to concerns about invasions of privacy. Just saw an article noting that they have come up with a code of conduct for the use of drones, and to my surprise it sounds like they may have actually struck a reasonable balance between preserving the 4th Amendment, and accomplishing what they want to accomplish.

I have the moderators' go-ahead to post a link to the article, so feel free to discuss. Be aware, however, that said moderators will be peeking in to ensure that we don't go off the deep end in the discussion.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...-code-conduct/
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Old August 17, 2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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so, just because they made an unofficial list of possible general rules this makes it ok?

They are flying them...what if the bad guys start shooting at them while in flight the bullets will come down eventually...just hope nobody ever gets hurt.

our 4th ammendment has already been stepped on.

When you give up your rights for safety....what good is safety if you are now a prisoner under watch by the same public servants that are suposed to protect us.

ironic.
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Old August 17, 2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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I think the fact that the drones are unmanned is irrelevant. Drones should be subject to the same limitations that already govern manned fixed-wing or rotary-wing police aircraft. In short, I don't see how this really changes anything.
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Old August 17, 2012, 10:40 PM   #4
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Many large police agencies already have small aircraft at their disposal. I really don't see how this is significantly different.
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Old August 17, 2012, 11:46 PM   #5
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They have drones that are small enough to fly into your garage if you leave the door open ...
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Old August 18, 2012, 12:41 AM   #6
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theres another written set of rules called the bill of rights and that hasnt stopped people from disregarding those. what makes this any different?
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Old August 18, 2012, 07:37 AM   #7
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FAA is permitting 106 'entities ' to use drones . Entities include federal, and state agencies and civilian companies to use drones . Mexican drug cartels are using drones to find unprotected areas on the border to send in illegals.
It's getting crowded up there.
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Old August 18, 2012, 12:32 PM   #8
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Yeah, just what we need - more aircraft flying around over populated areas. Especially if they being operated at extremely low altitudes which raises the chance of flying into structures and terrain. Hope they have some REALLY good insurance and lawyers.
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Old August 19, 2012, 04:26 PM   #9
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there was a TV episode I think it was called Harry's Law. The Lady lawyer had something looking her window and used an old Moss-berg pump to down the thing.

The cops were highly upset about her shooting down the drone. Unfortunately, for the cops they were peeking into the wrong house.
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Old August 19, 2012, 05:25 PM   #10
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At some point someone will sue the living tar out out of whatever agency for privacy violations... You have to keep in mind some of these drones are small enough that they seem to be almost impossible to see without a set of binos and then you have to be on the look out for them...

The second thing is any of these drones that carries any form of thermal imaging or flir is completely capable of seeing your most private activities regardless of walls and some could do so in very high levels of detail... My point being this cannot be allowed to stand... And any privacy violations should carry serious prison terms..
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Old August 19, 2012, 11:59 PM   #11
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where does one draw the line between authorized surveillance and peeping tom?

The technology exists to literally see through walls and hear intimate conversations blocks away. It will be abused. Count on it.
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Old August 20, 2012, 01:01 PM   #12
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David A. Harris, Superman’s X-Ray Vision and the Fourth Amendment:
The New Gun Detection, 69 Temp. L. Rev. 1, (1996), 30,41

It's been discussed before. Portable scanners will be used to target folks and you bet there will be racial implications. Depending on detail - the sexual harassment issue is also a problem.
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Old August 20, 2012, 03:28 PM   #13
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Let's get back to the really important issue here.

What size shot will bring one of these down? This has potential to be a whole new sport. The sporting clays crowd should be adding this to their set-ups.

And would you get extra points if it was a federal frisbee vs a garden-variety local tin whizzer?
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Old August 22, 2012, 09:07 PM   #14
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The issue under traditional 4th Amendment search and seizure law is whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in open fields. A warrantless search without probable cause is not unconstitutional in an "open field" even if it would be a trespass. This is known as the Open Fields Doctrine. A person's dwelling and its curtilages are protected under the 4th Amendment. A curtilage is essentially the area immediately surrounding the dwelling and consideration is given to how it is used and steps taken to keep it private.

Under the Open Fields Doctrine, police surveillance planes do not conduct an unlawful search by flying over the "open fields" (or woods). This is a routine method of searching for marijuana plants (for trafficking) in some states. I don't see any reason why a drone would be any different. The Supreme Court has drawn the line at technology used to be able to "see" inside homes; i.e. infrared technology. There's no such restriction on technology in "open fields."

Limits on drones, widespread government surveillance cameras, and other means of monitoring the populace will likely have to come from the state and federal legislatures.
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I was too lazy to look up the original case citations. Here's aWikipedia article and an ABC News story:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_fields_doctrine
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93...1#.UDWLsTCdySo
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:16 PM   #15
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While I was lurking in the shop at the range last evening, there was a show on The History Channel about drones. They have camera-carrying drones that have fold-up carbon fiber wings and can be carried around in a tube no larger than the rolled-up newspaper that gets tossed at your driveway every morning. Apparently at one time the CIA was working on one that was literally the size of a dragonfly.

How ya gonna shoot it down if'n you can't even see it? That's the big issue, IMHO. The increasing miniaturization of the equipment makes it almost impossible to know when and where it's being deployed, and if we can't tell where it's being used, we can't tell if it's being MISused.
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Old August 22, 2012, 10:19 PM   #16
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The insect-sized drones really haven't made it off of the drawing board yet - I think the practical lower limit on size right now is about the size of a small model airplane. But like you say, they're only going to get smaller and cheaper.
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:40 AM   #17
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seriously folks?

What's the issue? Draw the blinds ... and don't do anything stupid while standing in your yard. You never had an expectation of privacy with either. You cant stand naked in your front window and your six foot 'privacy fence' never actually afforded you any privacy.

You should be more worried about a tracking device getting attached to your car or unsanctioned email/phone taps more than a UAV hovering over your house.
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Old August 23, 2012, 11:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicAnimal View Post
Let's get back to the really important issue here.

What size shot will bring one of these down? This has potential to be a whole new sport. The sporting clays crowd should be adding this to their set-ups.

And would you get extra points if it was a federal frisbee vs a garden-variety local tin whizzer?
I'm in! Sounds like a good time!


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Old August 23, 2012, 12:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
What's the issue? Draw the blinds ... and don't do anything stupid while standing in your yard. You never had an expectation of privacy with either. You cant stand naked in your front window and your six foot 'privacy fence' never actually afforded you any privacy
And I guess walls and a solid roof never gave you an expectation of privacy either???? Many of these craft can see through your walls in levels of detail you wouldnt believe. Should the government who is to protect us now be recording us through our house walls and in our most private moments?

It can and will happen and wont matter if its an accident or intentional, it will happen.. No the government must have clear limits of its power and ability to spy on the population.
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Old August 23, 2012, 02:43 PM   #20
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Quote:
Under the Open Fields Doctrine, police surveillance planes do not conduct an unlawful search by flying over the "open fields" (or woods). This is a routine method of searching for marijuana plants (for trafficking) in some states. I don't see any reason why a drone would be any different.
And the altitude of the planes and helicopters searching 'open fields' is regulated by the FAA to no less than 500' (I believe) in 'uncongested' areas...

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/...../nlowfly.pdf

Will this apply to small drones?
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Old August 23, 2012, 02:59 PM   #21
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IIRC, there was a recent article where NYC either has them up and running, or is just about to institute them in certain areas.
Just like in London, they will not STOP an attack, merely allow LE to possibly get some images for use after the fact
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Old August 23, 2012, 03:15 PM   #22
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Many of these craft can see through your walls in levels of detail you wouldnt believe.
You've been watching way too many movies. The technology you are referring is still highly underdeveloped and does not have the granularity that you seem to think exists. Nor would it be used for the domestic surveillance that some here are bleating about. And certainly not on the drones that state and municipal police departments MIGHT deploy.
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Old August 23, 2012, 03:19 PM   #23
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Just to keep this lively, a little input from NPR can be found here:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechcons...-find-new-uses

They actually discuss a "code of conduct" for drone use here:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechcons...uct-for-drones

Both pro and anti got some ink.

Thanks, National Public Radio!
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Old August 23, 2012, 03:39 PM   #24
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It seems a little like the genie is out of the bottle and won't go back in.

I am concerned at what point drones become armed. Hellfires are not going to happen, but smaller weapons. I suspect the calculation may be, say, finding an active shooter holed up in a house, why risk our troops if we can take out the threat from a distance and angle impossible for people on the ground?

Budget pressures at the county and municipal level are almost always met by curtailing public safety personnel, and more cities are going to run into the choice of bankruptcy or becoming a pension provider instead of being a service provider to citizens.

At some point, it's human nature that some LE official is going to claim he needs armed drones to preserve civil order, there aren't enough people available to manage the task, and not enough money to hire more people.

Of course, a lot of people are figuring out how responsible they are or must be for their own self-defense, and I'd rather go there than have armed drones overhead. There are real limitations on what drones can see, and huge mistakes could be made. A large settlement in a lawsuit may be of little comfort to a false target.
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Old August 23, 2012, 03:53 PM   #25
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You've been watching way too many movies. The technology you are referring is still highly underdeveloped and does not have the granularity that you seem to think exists. Nor would it be used for the domestic surveillance that some here are bleating about. And certainly not on the drones that state and municipal police departments MIGHT deploy.
Prior to retirement I had training on two different thermal systems TTS and TIS and all manner of military night vision devices. It was very good when I retired, and can only have gotten better... Sooner or later this tech will be flying and sooner or later the police will have it... Might be a decade or two but it will happen.
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