U.N. human rights chief: Surveillance is now world’s “dangerous habit”

Washington Post

July 16, 2014

Press conference Navanethem Pillay“In a new hard-hitting draft report, Navi Pillay, the United Nation’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, has thrown the weight of the U.N. General Assembly behind the idea that digital privacy is a human right, and one under attack amid disclosures of surveillance by “signals intelligence agencies,” not only the United States’ National Security Agency but the United Kingdom’s General Communications Headquarters.

High Commissioner Pillay’s worry? That technology-enabled violations of personal privacy are no longer, if they ever were, rare events that affect already marginalized populations…” read more


SEE IT: Full-size helicopter, drone nearly collide in South Florida skies

New York Daily News

July 16, 2014

nearmiss17n-4-web“An unmanned drone flying above South Florida streets nearly slammed into a helicopter in May, a collision that could have crashed the chopper as it filmed an event.

The startling incident, which has become more common as amateurs take to the skies with drones, was caught on tape, sparking a new discussion about regulations for the popular aircraft.

“It came right at us and went right underneath us,” helicopter pilot Paul Barth told WTVJ-TV. “If that drone had hit my tail rotor…” read more


Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On

The Intercept

July 9, 2014

Meet_the_Muslim-American_Leaders_the_FBI_and_NSA_Have_Been_Spying_On_-_The_InterceptThe_Intercept_-_2014-07-13_07.56.03“The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

According to documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:…” read more


Drones still running into Privacy and Safety issues:

DOT Warns FAA Facing ‘Significant Barriers’ to Clearing Drones for Use


July 2, 2014

DOT-SEAL-BLUE-286“…’As far as small drones go, the ones most likely to be used by local TV stations, the report stated the FAA won’t meet its August deadline to issue its final ruling on their use. According to the audit, “FAA officials indicated that privacy concerns have been the primary contributor to this recent delay.’

The DOT audit also outlined two areas of concern for overall drone use.

First, because there are no pilots on board, a UAS cannot comply with the “see and avoid” requirements that underpin operational safety in the NAS. However, there is currently a lack of a mature UAS technology capable of automatically detecting other aircraft operating in nearby airspace and successfully maneuvering to avoid them. Experts we interviewed stated that “detect and avoid” is the most pressing technical challenge to integration.”  read more




News FlashAt the Citizens’ Input Meeting for the Bond Issue June 18, SLMPD Chief Dotson unveiled some startling news–his proposed Real Time Intelligence Center (RTIC) is much more costly than previously estimated. The overall cost, the Chief says, will be $10 Million! And we thought it was a waste of money, or worse, at $4 Million.

$6 Million would be included in the Bond Issue, unless St. Louis citizens successfully remove it. An additional $4 Million is part of the Transportation Sales Tax hike which we will be voting on in August. To make the project seem more appropriate on the transportation tax wish list, the police are, in that context, calling the intelligence hub a “transportation center.” That’s a disingenuous misnomer if ever there was one.

Chief Dotson made another surprising admission at the June 18 meeting. In touting the 50% reduction in crime since 2006, he gave little or no credit to the police. Instead, he cited economic development, rather than any law enforcement initiative, as the cause of the decline.

His claim begs the question: Why, if police programs are not a major contributor to crime reduction, would we want to spend $10 Million on a new police initiative–the RTIC?



For those who thought this was just a future capability:

African firm is selling pepper-spray bullet firing drones

June 8, 2014

Pepper Spray Drone“South Africa-based Desert Wolf told the BBC it had secured the sale of 25 units to a mining company after showing off the tech at a trade show.

It is marketing the device as a “riot control copter” that can tackle crowds “without endangering the lives of security staff”.

But the International Trade Union Confederation is horrified by the idea.

“This is a deeply disturbing and repugnant development and we are convinced that any reasonable government will move quickly to stop the deployment of advanced battlefield technology on workers or indeed the public involved in legitimate protests and demonstrations…”  read more