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Defense Minister Norbert Darabos says the drones could be used to help protect troops on foreign soil through surveillance as well as in case of natural catastrophes such as avalanches. He also says the unmanned aircraft may also be used to watch borders crossed by illegal immigrants but only if they do not violate "the private space" of individuals.
A new unmanned surveillance drone that can stay aloft for four days at a time and has a wingspan bigger than a 757 successfully completed its first test flight over California's Mojave Desert, though it sustained minor damage on landing.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been accused of violating the privacy of cattle farmers in Nebraska and Iowa by using drones to spy on them.
Last week, Nebraska’s congressional delegation submitted a joint letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concerns about the surveillance and questioning its legality.
OTTAWA - The Harper government is considering a proposal to buy at least three high-altitude, unmanned aerial vehicles in what could be an attempt to salvage its Arctic sovereignty ambitions.
The pitch was made by U.S. defence contractor Northrop Grumman and involves modifying its existing Global Hawk drone, which can operate at 20,000 metres, to meet the rigours of flying in the Far North.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration plans to arm Italy’s small fleet of Reaper surveillance drones with Hellfire missiles and precision-guided bombs, a move that advocates say supports a staunch NATO ally in Afghanistan and that critics contend represents a potentially risky proliferation of advanced technology.
Unmanned police drones flying over the State of Virginia would be “great” and “the right thing to do,” Governor Bob McDonnell told WTOP radio Tuesday morning. McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel supports the idea of using drone technology because it would make law enforcement “more productive,” “cut down on manpower,” and because “we use it on the battlefield.”
Ben Miller’s drones are some of the latest bots to fly in American skies.
The manager for the drone program at the sheriff’s office in Mesa County, Colo., Miller uses his machines — small enough to fit in the back of an SUV — to track bad guys and rescue lost hikers.
“One of these days, someone will bring a lost child back to their parents” with the help of a drone, he said. “From a law enforcement perspective, that’s what we’re doing. We’re trying to improve public safety.”
During a youth soccer game Saturday in Elgin, Ill., a bystander captured footage of a surveillance drone flying over the playing field in full view of everyone.
Presumably, the unmanned vehicle was there in preparation for this weekend's NATO summit in Chicago, approximately 40 miles away. The topic of drone surveillance is lately on the minds of civil libertarians, who are concerned about a proposed federal law allowing the remote-controlled vehicles to patrol the skies over the United States beginning in 2015.
The neoconservative Krauthammer is rarely mistaken for a civil libertarian, yet here he finds himself to the left of the ACLU. And he has a point. "Drones present a unique threat to privacy," the Electronic Privacy Information Center explains; they're designed to "undertake constant, persistent surveillance," and with special equipment, they're capable of "peering inside high-level windows," perhaps even "through solid barriers, such as fences, trees and even walls."
Administration helps usher in an age of drones for U.S. law enforcement agencies, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) domestically by the U.S. military — and the sharing of collected data with police agencies — is raising its own concerns about possible violations of privacy and Constitutional law, according to drone critics.
A non-classified U.S. Air Force intelligence report obtained by KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO dated April 23, 2012, is helping fuel concern that video and other data inadvertently captured by Air Force drones already flying through some U.S. airspace, might end up in the hands of federal or local law enforcement, doing an end-run around normal procedures requiring police to obtain court issued warrants.
Judge Andrew Napolitano, FOX news commentator had this to say in an op-ed entitled, “Where is the outrage?”
“Don't believe me that this is coming? The photos that the drones will take may be retained and used or even distributed to others in the government so long as the "recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful governmental function” in requiring them. And for the first time since the Civil War, the federal government will deploy military personnel inside the United States and publicly acknowledge that it is deploying them "to collect information about U.S. persons.”
It gets worse. If the military personnel see something of interest from a drone, they may apply to a military judge or "military commander” for permission to conduct a physical search of the private property that intrigues them. And, any "incidentally acquired information” can be retained or turned over to local law enforcement. What's next? Prosecutions before military tribunals in the U.S.?”
With Congress enacting a law giving the go-ahead for the use of drones in U.S. airspace last February, the drone industry is now poised to deploy the technology to monitor everything from neighborhood safety, to political protests, to traffic conditions. The possibilities of using drones for airborne, real-time newsgathering haven't been lost on the media, either. Drones have many positive uses, such as aiding firefighters, dusting crops, or scouting hazardous areas for workers, but -- without privacy and transparency rules -- these powerful surveillance tools also have strong potential for misuse.
The FAA has already authorized 63 U.S. launch sites and issued more than 300 temporary licenses to operate these flying robots over American soil. The pool of approved drone operators includes government agencies such as NASA and the Department of Homeland Security, the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Others include universities, local police departments, defense contractors, and individual towns, such as Herington, Ky., population 2,526.
They're already here — and the drone era is just beginning. Predator drones — the same remote-controlled, camera-equipped aircraft used to hunt terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan — have been patrolling U.S. borders since 2005. Emergency responders have used smaller drones to search for missing persons and track forest fires, and police departments in Florida, Maryland, Texas, and Colorado are testing drones for surveillance and search-and-rescue missions. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration, acting at the behest of Congress, relaxed the rules for deploying unmanned aerial vehicles. Police departments across the country can now fly drones weighing up to 25 pounds, as long as the aircraft stay within sight of the operator and fly no higher than 400 feet (so as not to get in the way of commercial aircraft). More rules easing restrictions on commercial drones are expected by 2015. By the end of the decade, the FAA expects 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles — some as small as birds — to be peering down on American soil.
The Obama administration has been widely criticized for its increased reliance on drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but according to published reports, a plan is now in the works to harness tiny drones to spy on U.S. citizens.
A 30-page memorandum issued by President Barack Obama’s Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley on April 23 has stated that the drones, some as small as golf balls, may be used domestically to ‘collect information about U.S. persons.’
UAS have evolved from simple radio controlled model airplanes to sophisticated aircraft that today play a unique role in many public missions such as border surveillance, weather monitoring, military training, wildlife surveys and local law enforcement, and have the potential to do so for many civil missions as well.” So reads part of a research and development “roadmap” put out earlier this year by the U.S. Joint Planning and Development Office (a multiagency initiative that includes the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Aviation Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy). “According to industry forecasts,” the report notes, “UAS operations will increase exponentially in a variety of key military and civil areas. About 50 U.S. companies, universities, and government organizations… are developing over 150 different unmanned aircraft designs. Projections for 2010 to 2019 predict more than 20,000 UAS produced in the U.S.”
At various exhibits, mannequins dressed in camo and sporting guns with surveillance gizmos hanging off their helmets seemed as if they might walk right out of the exhibition hall and take over the sprawling city of Phoenix with brute force. Little imaginable for your futuristic fortressed border was missing from the hall. There were even ready-to-eat pocket sandwiches (with a three-year shelf life), and Brief Relief plastic urine bags. A stream of uniformed Border Patrol, military, and police officials moved from booth to booth alongside men in suits in what the sole protester outside the convention center called a “mall of death.”
Border Patrol forces, still growing, have more than doubled in the years since 9/11. As the new uniformed soldiers of the Department of Homeland Security, close to 20,000 Border Patrol agents now occupy the U.S. Southwest. Predator drones and mini-surveillance blimps regularly patrol the skies. Nevins says that it is a “highly significant development” that we have come to accept this version of “boundaries” and the institutions that enforce them without question.
Basically its a personal drone with cameras that accompanies people on their runs. So if I need a drone just to go on a run imagine what they will be selling for the rest of your life? An eye will always be on you, easily hacked into by any decently skilled person with a computer. I used to laugh when I saw movies like I Robot, like oh that will never happen. But it's even happening now. Im not worried about skynet (different movie I know) but the FBI, NSA have already have admitted they can and do spy on people through every day electronics...
House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., said on Sunday that unmanned drones are legitimate uses of force in Pakistan, where the United States is trying to rein in al-Qaida. They also are useful for police surveillance inside the U.S., particularly in patrolling large crowds, he said.
Since President Obama took office, roughly 300 drone strikes have taken place in Pakistan. The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the use of drones for public surveillance and along the southern U.S. border.
The project will test the effectiveness of unmanned flying drones as a surf lifesaving tool.
A three-month trial on Queensland's North Stradbroke Island is expected to start in September, with lifesavers hopeful the drones will be rolled out nationally.
Last week, in its report on the 2013 Defense Authorization bill, the Senate Armed Services Committee called for allowing drones to operate "freely and routinely" in U.S. airspace.
"Large numbers of [UAVs] now deployed overseas may be returned to the United States as the conflict in Afghanistan and operations elsewhere wind down in coming years," the Committee Report read.
Drones "have clearly demonstrated their immense value to DOD military capabilities in the global war on terrorism," and they're increasingly "contributing to missions of agencies and departments within the United States. ... The pace of development must be accelerated," the report concluded.
LONDON: You think technology has made life easier, safe and secure . Think again. For US tech giants are using military-grade cameras so powerful that they can see into homes to produce aerial maps which can show up objects just four inches wide.
Google and Apple will use new hi-tech mapping planes that can film through skylights and windows, putting privacy at risk, the Daily mail reported.
The technology is similar to that used by intelligence agencies in identifying terrorist targets in Afghanistan, the report said. The military-grade images are taken at a height of around 1,600 ft, meaning people below are very unlikely to realise they are being photographed. The cameras can be installed on planes, helicopters or even unmanned drones.
Google has admitted to having sent planes over cities, while Apple has acquired a firm using spy-in-the-sky technology that has been tested on at least 20 locations , including London.