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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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People of color are always most affected by law enforcement abuses:

Why civil rights groups are warning against ‘big data’

from the Washington Post

February 27, 2014

naacpThe backlash against the government’s use of bulk phone records for intelligence purposes has been led mostly by technologists used to speaking the language of privacy. But a new push by civil rights organizations to challenge “big data” — both in the public and private sectors — is highlighting how the abuse of data can uniquely affect disadvantaged minorities…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

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Last year, Boeing stepped in to defeat the Washington bill, so this one has a ways to go.

Wash. House passes drone, government surveillance bill

from sUAS News

February 19, 2014

droneside-300x298OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state House on Monday passed two bills that would restrict the use of drones and government surveillance in Washington state.

 

House Bill 2789, which was approved by an 83-15 vote, would limit the purchase and use of unmanned aircraft systems by state and local agencies.

Under the measure, state agencies and municipal governments could only obtain drones or other unmanned aircraft after getting approval from their governing body. The drones could only be used with a search warrant…read more

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Is this too much? It can’t happen here? Can we be so sure?

“Recently, Federal Aviation Administration official, Jim Williams, stated that no armed drones would presently be permitted in US airspace. But what good are the promises of government officials when the Constitution, and especially the Fourth Amendment, has been gutted? More than1,400 applications to use drones in US airspace have been approved, including for police, universities, and at least seven federal agencies. Do we want to live in a society where the government is constantly watching us from above? The East Germans and Soviets could only dream of such technology in the days of their dictatorship. We might ask ourselves how long before “extraordinary” circumstances will lead to a decision to arm those drones over US territory.”

Ron Paul

February 18, 2013

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