US Military Using Drones To Collect Info On Citizens Without Warrants

The US government is in the process of rewriting regulations so that private citizens and law enforcement agencies can fly drones willy-nilly through the skies. The proposition has a lot of people very nervous that the government will be increasingly monitoring people from above. It turns out they're probably already doing it.

New documents obtained by CBS Los Angeles reveal that it is possible for US Air Force drones to gather information on American soil without a warrant under current regulations. The drones aren't allowed to perform surveillance in US airspace under most circumstances. (They can only be used to fight back against foreign intelligence operations, the war on drugs and for counterterrorism.) However, if an Air Force drone is in the process of conducting other missions and happens to capture information, it's not immediately tossed out.

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 defence or government agency to whose function it pertains."

In other words, what the US Air Force accidentally captures might just end up in the hands of local law enforcement or anyone else that might find what you're up to interesting. But what exactly constitutes accidentally? Drones could be misused under the guise of a mishap, and there's very little we could do about it. Yikes. [CBS Los Angeles]

Image: Gwoeii/Shutterstock



    Time for everyone to start wearing sombreros, and stop looking up!

    What scares me more as a pilot, is the possibility of collision with manned aircraft.

      Arm your plane to the teeth and get cracking then!

    Yikes? If you are so worried about being caught doing something illegal, then clearly don't do anything illegal. Simple really.

      I don't subscribe to that line of thought, that said, it's only slightly more intrusive than Google's streetview, and the only difference between this and their satellite view is that is is probably real time. I guess you'd have to be an idiot to grow your weed out in the open, at least.

      If they only used this technology to catch people doing illegal things I would be all for it. It is the possibility that they will use this technology for the wrong things.

      I demand you let us set up a web cam in your bedroom. If you are not doing anything illegal you have nothing to fear.

        + a million Johnny. People like Michael don't seem to get this.

        Michael, what's your surname, address and phone number? If you don't tell us, then obviously you're doing something illegal.

        There is a difference between surveillance in public places and private. The drones could be no different to the security cameras used in public. I agree with Michael, as long as they are collecting data on society and not specific people (similar to what Google does) I'm fine with it.

        It just depends how they are used...

          I agree that surveillance out of closed doors isn't something to worry about. Someone standing looking at you outside would achieve as much.

          However, Michael's point wasn't that. It was that worrying about privacy means you're a criminal. Which is dumb.

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