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Who Is Flying Unmanned Aircraft in the U.S.? Gov't Withholds Info on Drone Flight Authorizations
Electronic Frontier Foundation ^ | 10 Jan 2012

Posted on 02/15/2012 7:13:14 AM PST by FourPeas

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed suit today against the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), demanding data on certifications and authorizations the agency has issued for the operation of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones.

Drones are designed to carry surveillance equipment – including video cameras, infrared cameras and heat sensors, and radar – that can allow for sophisticated and almost constant surveillance. They can also carry weapons. Traditionally, drones have been used almost exclusively by military and security organizations. However, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection uses drones inside the United States to patrol the U.S. borders, and state and local law enforcement are increasingly using unmanned aircraft for investigations into things like cattle rustling, drug dealing, and the search for missing persons.

Any drone flying over 400 feet needs a certification or authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, part of the DOT. But there is currently no information available to the public about who specifically has obtained these authorizations or for what purposes. EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act request in April of 2011 for records of unmanned aircraft activities, but the DOT so far has failed to provide the information.

"Drones give the government and other unmanned aircraft operators a powerful new surveillance tool to gather extensive and intrusive data on Americans' movements and activities," said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. "As the government begins to make policy decisions about the use of these aircraft, the public needs to know more about how and why these drones are being used to surveil United States citizens."

Dozens of companies and research organizations are working to develop even more sophisticated drones, so their use is poised for a dramatic expansion in the coming years. Meanwhile, news reports indicate that the FAA is studying ways to integrate more drones into the national airspace because of increased demand from federal, state, and local governments. EFF's lawsuit asks for immediate response to our FOIA request, including the release of data on any certificates and authorizations issued for unmanned aircraft flights, expired authorizations, and any applications that have been denied.

"The use of drones in American airspace could dramatically increase the physical tracking of citizens – tracking that can reveal deeply personal details about our private lives," said Lynch. "We're asking the DOT to follow the law and respond to our FOIA request so we can learn more about who is flying the drones and why."

For the full complaint: https://www.eff.org/sites/default/files/filenode/EFFDroneComplaint.pdf

For more on this case: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/drones-are-watching-you


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: domesticdrones; drones; dronesfaa; dronesus; eff; faa; foia; privacy
It's from this past January, but I've been meaning to post it for some time now.
1 posted on 02/15/2012 7:13:19 AM PST by FourPeas
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To: FourPeas

Obama will use his NATO Sharia Police to hunt
and take out any American negatively
discussing his 57 States.


2 posted on 02/15/2012 7:16:32 AM PST by Diogenesis ("Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. " Pres. Ronald Reagan)
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To: FourPeas
"The use of drones in American airspace could dramatically increase the physical tracking of citizens – tracking that can reveal deeply personal details about our private lives,"

Not only that, but under the 0bama regime, where he unilaterally decides whether Americans live or die, he can quickly eradicate pesky non-conformers to his policies.

3 posted on 02/15/2012 7:19:38 AM PST by The Sons of Liberty (Psalm 109:8 Let his days be few and let another take his office. - Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin)
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To: FourPeas

In WA State, they don’t use drones, they use helicopters and small planes to photograph and monitor zoning violations, land use regulations, and water rights (including stormwater). Anyone who is interested can go down to the planning board and ask to see the aerial photographs of their property. If the person is the target of the local brown shirts, the surveillance is quite constant.

I bet that it’s going on in a lot of other states, as well.


4 posted on 02/15/2012 7:20:57 AM PST by Eva
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To: All
Interesting, all US civil aircraft need registration numbers for identification - I haven't seen anything similar yet for non-military drones.

This would seem like a reasonable first step, if you can't identify the drone, then no way can you identify the “pilot”.

5 posted on 02/15/2012 7:26:48 AM PST by az_gila
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To: FourPeas

Guess I better bury my cache now, else if I put it off any longer a Hellfire might take me out while I’m doing it.


6 posted on 02/15/2012 7:29:30 AM PST by LibWhacker
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To: LibWhacker

Repeat after me:

“I had some guns, but I lost them in a boating accident. Shame, really...”


7 posted on 02/15/2012 7:34:22 AM PST by jagusafr ("Write in Palin and prepare for war...")
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To: FourPeas

We’re all conspiracy theorists and just need to accept it.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2846702/posts


8 posted on 02/15/2012 7:38:44 AM PST by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: FourPeas

Who is flying?
“Hello, This is Peggy.”


9 posted on 02/15/2012 7:43:48 AM PST by Proud2BeRight
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To: Eva
In my state, the local constables buy satellite imagery to spy on the citizens. I was fined for my shed being too large based on the satellite images they had. (They showed me.)

The images were right up to the minute on my progress.

That spurred my journey to exit that city BTW and move to the country.

10 posted on 02/15/2012 7:50:29 AM PST by JOAT
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To: FourPeas
Yep, right here in Montgomery co. Texas we have our first lil drone. The sheriffs dept. is all giddy bout there latest purchase through DHS grants.

I remember O-bozo saying something like, “we need a civilian force, just as well equipped, well funded...”

Law enforcement agencies all across America are being armed to the teeth with advanced Kevlar, military grade ammo and weapons, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and the like.

Are WE the suspects? I thought this was a war on the terrorist. Why is the heartland coming under such scrutiny?

Is there credible information of an imminent terror attack within our borders? If so, say so.

Why are we allowing our liberties to be stripped so easily?

Our own government pressured and coerced law abiding gun dealers to sell rifles to questionable individuals supposedly to help track them to cartels, but secretly using the same program to attack the 2nd amendment.

This seems like uncle sugar's attacking American citizens...what gives?

11 posted on 02/15/2012 7:59:26 AM PST by servantboy777
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To: FourPeas

First time a drone hits a private plane, who will get the blame?


12 posted on 02/15/2012 8:06:21 AM PST by hattend (Jesus wants me to make churches pay for abortions. - Barack Obama)
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To: FourPeas
I fly several unmanned aircraft.

In fact flew two just last weekend. I LOVE my new Albatros UV, but nothing beats my J-3 UV.

I currently building a DHC-2 Beaver UV.

I wonder if the Obama regime is gonna get me too....

13 posted on 02/15/2012 8:16:47 AM PST by China Clipper ( Animals? Sure I like animals. See? There they are next to the potatoes!)
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To: JOAT

They don’t use the photography on the cities around here, just the rural areas. The low flying helicopters are a form of harassment, as welll as being intrusive.

They train neighborhood brown shirts to report the violatons and ten go and photograph it. Once you get on the list, they hound you for everything.

They use the purchased photography for general surveillance, satellite photography of rural areas is just not frequent enough for their purposes .


14 posted on 02/15/2012 8:19:35 AM PST by Eva
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To: JOAT

They don’t use the photography on the cities around here, just the rural areas. The low flying helicopters are a form of harassment, as welll as being intrusive.

They train neighborhood brown shirts to report the violatons and ten go and photograph it. Once you get on the list, they hound you for everything.

They use the purchased photography for general surveillance, satellite photography of rural areas is just not frequent enough for their purposes .


15 posted on 02/15/2012 8:19:40 AM PST by Eva
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To: China Clipper

You do know that the FAA wants to have involvement with the AMA, right?

R/C pilot here as well.

I don’t see how FAA would be able to keep tabs on RC pilots, though. A lot of my flying is in wilderness areas (slope flying sailplanes)...good luck tracking me down.


16 posted on 02/15/2012 8:25:27 AM PST by hattend (Jesus wants me to make churches pay for abortions. - Barack Obama)
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To: FourPeas

The only question is; kinetic or non-kinetic?


17 posted on 02/15/2012 8:28:58 AM PST by wxgesr (I want to be the first person to surf on another planet.)
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To: FourPeas

Not sure who ALL of the people are who are flying drones. But I do know the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department has one.

I’m not sure we’re completely right in assuming the local sheriffs will be on the side of the people.


18 posted on 02/15/2012 8:37:26 AM PST by Terry Mross (Is it racist if it's true.)
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To: servantboy777
Why is the heartland coming under such scrutiny?

Here's why

Photobucket

19 posted on 02/15/2012 8:42:28 AM PST by Roccus
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To: FourPeas

Personally, I’m happy to read that the UN troops have switched from black helicopters to UAVs. Much more cost efficient.


20 posted on 02/15/2012 8:51:45 AM PST by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: Roccus
This whole thing did not begin under O-bozo’s admin. Baby Bush launched this lil ditty.

Republicans and Democrats together approved the patriot act, the NDAA and 30k drones over the heartland.

Two parties?

21 posted on 02/15/2012 9:09:57 AM PST by servantboy777
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To: servantboy777

Perhaps more an indication of how people think than of party affiliation.
I’m sure that a great many in those red areas were not big fans of McNut, but given the alternative.....

(The “alternatives” have often influenced my votes)


22 posted on 02/15/2012 9:18:31 AM PST by Roccus
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To: Roccus
Yep, mine too!

If we keep fishin from the same ol pond, were gonna keep catchin the same ol big mouth bass.

Republican or Democrat, this country keeps a marchin toward socialism.

Voting for the lesser of two evils is killing this country. European social style state is a European social state no matter what pace we arrive.

23 posted on 02/15/2012 11:17:06 AM PST by servantboy777
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