Skip to comments.The Age Of Drones: Military May Be Using Drones In US To Help Police
Posted on 06/04/2012 11:41:34 AM PDT by BenLurkin
LOS ANGELES (KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO) As the Federal Aviation Administration helps usher in an age of drones for U.S. law enforcement agencies, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) 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.
Weve seen in some records that were released by the Air Force just recently, that under their rules, they are allowed to fly drones in public areas and record information on domestic situations, says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the San Francisco based Electronic Frontier Association, who is looking into various government surveillance techniques.
This report noted that they are able to collect that information and then determine whether or not they can keep it.
The revised Air Force report is a continuation of a policy already a few years old, but is causing more alarm now as drones appear poised to soon become a ubiquitous presence in U.S. skies thanks to a federal policy to promote their use, first by law enforcement agencies, and then by commercial concerns.
A streamlined process for police departments to apply for permits to fly drones was recently introduced by the FAA.
Drone manufactures are gearing up to pitch an estimated 18,000 police departments in the U.S. on the benefits of flying drones.
Many law enforcement agencies in Southern California including the LAPD and Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department are evaluating the usefulness of drones in the greatly restricted and highly congested airspace that surrounds the L.A. basin.
Neither agency has yet purchased a drone, officials at both departments tell KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO.
Under U.S. Air Force rules, drones are not allowed to conduct non-consensual surveillance on U.S. citizens or property, though there are some apparent exceptions.
Charles Feldman holds a police UAV in Simi Valley What has critics alarmed is that data collected by drones accidentally, under the guidelines, can be kept by the military up to three months before being purged and can also be turned over to another Department of Defense or government agency to whose function it pertains.
The Air Force guidelines permit using drones domestically to assist law enforcement in investigating or preventing clandestine intelligence activities by foreign powers, international narcotics activities , or international terrorist activities. More vague is language that also allows military cooperation with local law enforcement for the purposes of preventing, detecting, or investigating other violations of law.
In an email to KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO, Air Force spokesperson Capt. Rose Richeson said, The Executive Branch has promulgated detailed Departmental and Intelligence Community-wide instructions and directives about when it is appropriate to share information with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies consistent with the protection of privacy and civil liberties.
But Capt. Richeson goes on to say that a court order or warrant is not required in all circumstances.
The militarys use of drones domestically will pale by comparison should sales to police departments take off.
AeroVironment, a defense contractor based in Monrovia, California, is trying to market a three-foot long, roughly five-pound drone called Qube specifically to police departments.
A non-classified U.S. Air Force intelligence report obtained by KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO dated April 23, 2012:
The non-classifed Air Force report
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I KNEW some fat deputy on the radio wouldn’t know how to operate one of these. They’re being operated out of Florida likes the ones in Afghanistan. And yes, this is against the constitution but that doesn’t seem to matter any more.
> Isn’t this against the law?
Two more words:
If there is anything to ‘this’....HELL NO!!!!
“Yeah like it was like it was porn. I cant emphasize I dont think Im painting a clear enough picture here for you of how this thing has people really freaking out inside the administration. Its good on one hand because its got more of them willing to talk but the fact its gotten this bad these drones an American president who has the video sent up to his personal study so he can watch them over and over again like I said sh-t aint right. And more and more people are figuring that out and that is what has Jarrett concerned. But even she Obama wont listen to her on this one. Those drones are the one thing he really feels he has control over all the rest hes been told what to say and where to go when to wake when to sleep but the drones. The drones are all his and he aint given those up. For nobody.”