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Eyes in the sky - Is your right to privacy a thing of the past?
Posted: 12 August 2012 03:28 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I was reading this article and couldn’t help wondering how long it will be before the local police start buzzing your backyard just above the trees peeking in on whatever you happen to be doing. Even if you aren’t the intended target the result could be that you will never agin feel like you have a right to privacy in your own yard. Some of these devices can peer into windows so that even within your home you can’t be sure you have any privacy.

The article talks about pressure being put on the FAA to open the skies to UAS’s. It seems to me that they are putting the cart ahead of the horse. There should be some laws in place first that would prevent law enforcement and even nosey neighbors ( You can buy a similar drone from Brookstone for $300) from hovering over private property without the owners permission. Then again it might be one of the few legitimate reasons I can see for personal gun ownership. You could just shoot the things out of the sky if they became too much of a nuisance.

Am I being a bit paranoid or does this creep anyone else out too?

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Posted: 12 August 2012 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You’re being a bit paranoid. Helicopters can already hover over private property above a certain height. Drones would be doing the exact same thing.

Also: the matter is not to completely eliminate privacy rights; it is drawing the boundaries.

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Posted: 12 August 2012 04:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Make some laws sounds fine, but how often have we discovered those laws are circumvented at the convenience of the dude in charge.

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Posted: 12 August 2012 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 12 August 2012 04:29 PM

You’re being a bit paranoid. Helicopters can already hover over private property above a certain height. Drones would be doing the exact same thing.

Also: the matter is not to completely eliminate privacy rights; it is drawing the boundaries.

but a lot more of them and a lot stealthier   hmmm

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Posted: 12 August 2012 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The problem is that law enforcement has been known to abuse their powers and neighbors.. well thats whole different story. It just seems like this is an emerging technology that needs some regulation before the genie is completely out of the bottle. Its one thing to have Helicopters in the sky on rare occasions looking for an escaped convict. Helicopters are expensive and so are their pilots. They are also noisy so you know when they are overhead. UAS’s can be very stealthy, inexpensive, and provide much higher resolution images because they fly lower. Those things mean they will used more frequently and more widely. If that weren’t the case then law enforcement wouldn’t be pushing for them.

Granted this is an evolutionary phenomena not revolutionary one, but this is often the way you lose your rights, in a slow incremental fashion.

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Posted: 12 August 2012 06:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I suppose they could get you for illegally firing a gun.  I suggest that you recruit all your neighbors so that each of you buys as powerful a laser as you can get, then, in a concerted attack, you all zap the drone with your lasers.  That should burn out the camera.  Then they’ll have to figure out how to limp home while it’s blind.

Occam

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Posted: 12 August 2012 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Occam. - 12 August 2012 06:20 PM

I suppose they could get you for illegally firing a gun.  I suggest that you recruit all your neighbors so that each of you buys as powerful a laser as you can get, then, in a concerted attack, you all zap the drone with your lasers.  That should burn out the camera.  Then they’ll have to figure out how to limp home while it’s blind.

Occam

I know. I wasn’t serious. I don’t expect to see these things over anyone’s house any time soon, but if we ever do maybe we could use a potato canon? I’m fairly certain there’s no law against illegally firing a potato.

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Posted: 12 August 2012 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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macgyver - 12 August 2012 05:45 PM

The problem is that law enforcement has been known to abuse their powers and neighbors.. well thats whole different story. It just seems like this is an emerging technology that needs some regulation before the genie is completely out of the bottle. Its one thing to have Helicopters in the sky on rare occasions looking for an escaped convict. Helicopters are expensive and so are their pilots. They are also noisy so you know when they are overhead.

Good points, except that helicopters can be virtually silent if they’re high enough. I suspect it’s a boundary between different densities of air that may reflect sound waves, and if a helicopter or any other aircraft is above such a boundary, you don’t hear them.

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Posted: 12 August 2012 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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macgyver - 12 August 2012 06:48 PM

I’m fairly certain there’s no law against illegally firing a potato.

Hmm. Let’s try a different few different statements:

1. It is legal to fire a potato.  (I assume this is what you want to say)
2. It is illegal to fire a potato.
3. There is a law against firing potatoes. (Hmm. That is the same as 2, isn’t it?)
4. There is a law against illegally firing potatoes. (Ah, but legally firing potatoes is still allowed?)
5. There is no law against illegally firing potatoes.

Ah, but what about legally firing potatoes? You suggest, by saying there is no law against illegally firing potatoes, there is a law against legally firing potatoes. But then it is not legal to legally fire potatoes…

Yeah, I am also pretty sure that such a law does not exist, on logical grounds. However, you are in the US of A, the country of endless possibilities…

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Posted: 13 August 2012 03:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It will happen eventually.

There will be people dying over it. Make no mistake. ohh

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Posted: 13 August 2012 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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It just struck me.  If these drones are cheap enough and probably easy to build (think of model aircraft), gangs, minute-man type groups, and people who value their privacy could have a fleet of them flying around their area so they could shoot down the government ones or at least smash into them.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 13 August 2012 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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We might as well get used to it. Once a technology gets cheap enough that anybody can use it, it will get used, legal or not. I can’t see any way to effectively police against it.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I know. I wasn’t serious. I don’t expect to see these things over anyone’s house any time soon, but if we ever do maybe we could use a potato canon? I’m fairly certain there’s no law against illegally firing a potato.

There is no law preventing the making, and firing of a potato cannon. In fact we used to make them just for kicks and giggles at reenactments. I won’t go into the directions but it involves flour as a propellant and the max range is about 200 yards so, yeah, you could spud a drone with one. Lock and load pilgrim!

 

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Posted: 13 August 2012 01:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 13 August 2012 11:41 AM

I know. I wasn’t serious. I don’t expect to see these things over anyone’s house any time soon, but if we ever do maybe we could use a potato canon? I’m fairly certain there’s no law against illegally firing a potato.

There is no law preventing the making, and firing of a potato cannon. In fact we used to make them just for kicks and giggles at reenactments. I won’t go into the directions but it involves flour as a propellant and the max range is about 200 yards so, yeah, you could spud a drone with one. Lock and load pilgrim!

 

Cap’t Jack

I saw them on mythBusters once and they look like a lot of fun. There are plans for them all over the internet in every possible configuration. Amazing what you can do with some PVC pipe and if you hit the drone’s rotors just right with the spud you can probably get it to rain julian fries as a bonus…pass the ketchup please.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Occam. - 13 August 2012 10:46 AM

It just struck me.  If these drones are cheap enough and probably easy to build (think of model aircraft), gangs, minute-man type groups, and people who value their privacy could have a fleet of them flying around their area so they could shoot down the government ones or at least smash into them.  smile

Occam

This is a great, great point. Observe that when the police get these drones, so do non-police entities. I think that it may ultimately be good for both the police and for us private citizens, because while the technology makes it easier to spot criminals, it also makes it easier to spot police abuse. Just as hand-held video cameras have added the same effect.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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TromboneAndrew - 12 August 2012 04:29 PM

You’re being a bit paranoid. Helicopters can already hover over private property above a certain height. Drones would be doing the exact same thing.

Also: the matter is not to completely eliminate privacy rights; it is drawing the boundaries.

But the proximity is not the issue here. If an orbital satellite can “see” a baseball in your back yard, why would a drone (at any distance) not be able to see much, much more.
The inherent question is if we have a right to privacy or not.  If we do, then drones should not be allowed, except by a search warrant. The same principle holds for phone tapping, regardless if it is done at your local provider or at Langley.

As I understand the law, the government cannot target an individual for any reason unless there is “reasonable suspicion” of wrong doing.

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