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Commercial Drones Are Completely Legal, a Federal Judge Ruled

from Motherboard

March 6, 2014

Drone Activity in Progress SignFor the moment, commercial drones are, unequivocally, legal in American skies after a federal judge has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has not made any legally binding rules against it.

The judge dismissed the FAA’s case against Raphael Pirker, the first (and only) person the agency has tried to fine for flying a drone commercially. The agency has repeatedly claimed that flying a drone for commercial purposes is illegal and has said that there’s “no gray area” in the law. The latter now appears to be true, but it hasn’t gone the way the FAA would have hoped…read more

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Drones on Your Doorstep? Not if Hackers Have Their Way

from NBC News

March 3, 2014

crashed droneWhat’s that buzzing in the backyard?

It’s probably not a drone — yet. But with major U.S. companies like FedEx and Amazon talking about using the whirring aircraft in the not-so-distant future, it seems more likely than ever that drones may soon be part of our domestic skyscape. That is, if they can beat the hackers, some security tech experts say…

In December, two days after Amazon head honcho Jeff Bezos laid out his — perhaps overly optimistic — vision in which Amazon deliveries would be dropped off by drone, a hacker named Samy Kamkar posted a YouTube video that showed software he had developed that could take control over other drones…read more

 

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Customs & Border Protection Loaned Predator Drones to Other Agencies 700 Times in Three Years According to “Newly Discovered” Records

Electronic Frontier Foundation

January 14, 2014

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Customs & Border Protection recently “discovered” additional daily flight logs that show the agency has flown its drones on behalf of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on 200 more occasions more than previously released records indicated. Read More 

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There are plenty of problems with private use of drones, but this isn’t how to solve them. We don’t need to target private use of drones while leaving the police free to use the technology for their own purposes. And adding extra punishments onto a crime just because it was committed with a drone makes no sense: assaults and  privacy violations are what they are, no matter whether a drone was used. We need consistent protection from drone abuses based on constitutional principles, not selective punishment:

CT law to impose 20-year sentence for drone use

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So, you think the police won’t misuse their drone surveillance powers, eh?

 

N.Y. man’s prosecution in terrorism case relied partly on surveillance done without a warrant

from the Washington Post

February 25, 2014

How blind2The Justice Department on Tuesday notified a Brooklyn man serving a 15-year sentence for supporting terrorism that evidence in his case derived from surveillance conducted without an individual warrant.

Agron Hasbajrami, sentenced in January 2013, is the third criminal defendant since the fall to be told that his prosecution involved surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

The law is being challenged as unconstitutional by Jamshid Muhtorov, a Colorado man who in October became the first criminal defendant to be notified that evidence used against him derived from Section 702…read more

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End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance and Global Militarization: Call for Spring Days of Action 2014

from the The Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare

January 31, 2014

 

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“Today we issue an international call for Spring Days of Action – 2014, a coordinated campaign in April and May to:

End Drone Killing, Drone Surveillance and Global Militarization

The campaign will focus on drone bases, drone research facilities and test sites and drone manufacturers.

The campaign will provide information on:

… How drone attacks have effectively destroyed international and domestic legal protection of the rights to life, privacy, freedom of assembly and free speech and have opened the way for new levels of surveillance and repression around the world, and how, in the United States, increasing drone surveillance, added to surveillance by the National Security Agency and police, provides a new weapon to repress black, Hispanic, immigrant and low-income communities and to intimidate Americans who are increasingly unsettled…” read more

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Public Shows Significant Concerns Over Police Use of Drones

from Monmouth University Polling Institute

August 15, 2013

Drones-GQ_17Feb13_pr_b_642x390“…49% of Americans would be very concerned and 20% would be somewhat concerned about their own privacy if U.S. law enforcement started using unmanned drones with high tech surveillance cameras and recording equipment. Another 15% would be just a little concerned and 14% would not be concerned at all. The 69% who express at least some concern over privacy is slightly higher than the 64% who felt the same a year ago”…read more

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Surveillance, Law and Policy in the 21st Century

from Law & Courts

Spring 2013

spring13.pdf_-_2014-02-25_02.58.55Justice Louis Brandeis’ comment, stating, “the progress of science in furnishing the Government with means of espionage is not likely to stop with wire-tapping” seems prophetic, given the creation of technology such as drones monitoring American skies and the construction of a massive National Security Agency data collection center in Utah (Olmstead v. US). If the Supreme Court justices in the 1920s could hardly conceive of technology that would allow law enforcement officials to intercept private phone conversations, they would not believe the current “means of espionage” being conducted by the government on its citizens every day…read more