Saturday, March 10, 2012

Drone Use By Police Agencies

We live in a day and age where technological advances are always brought on by a military inspired science.  Policing is catching up to the use of military technologies, Predator Drones are now looking to be the new trend in the Law Enforcement field.  The drones will be very cost effective in their implementation into the field the will run the department that buys them around $50,000 which is comparable to a police cruiser.
There has been recent news stating that Congress is demanding drones to spy on the public in order to help Law Enforcement.  The House and the Senate passed the law H. R. 658 and this allows the FAA to speed up the licensing process to allow commercial drone and private use by October 2015.  Even though the FAA must produce guidelines on the Drone use the law says nothing about a violation of privacy by their use.  There is a concern with the FAA that the drones could possibly collide with aircraft that is already in the sky causing a huge tragedy that could lead to lawsuits and deaths of many people.  
Here is a video talking about the use of Predator Drones by Police Officers:

The Drones are going to have multiple capabilities and tools at their disposal such as facial recognition cameras, license plate scanners, thermal imaging cameras, Wifi detectors along with other devices.  These drones are able to hover over thousands of feet in the air which they will not even be seen by the public while they are in use.  Congress was given a chance to protect the public's civil liberties but instead went for a bill that will rush drone use over the American airspace without even a study being done.

This is a topic that really bothers me with all of laws that are already in place to help us and tell us how we should live our lives as Americans they should not be allowed to do this to us.  The police have many tools at their disposal when it comes to fighting crime but when it comes to spying on the American public with a technology like this it also scares me.  They will be able to track us without our knowledge of knowing that it is even happening.  I would like to see this bill shot down by the at the Presidential level in order for the public to have some piece of mind when it comes to our privacy.  I can understand the use of these drones in the search of a fugitive, lost child, or night time scenario where it is not useful to use law enforcement officers  to be in the area for safety reasons.  The Predator Drones could be a great tool for law enforcement officers if they are used for the right reasons other than spying on people.  I can see the use of these drones being helpful and allowing more jobs in this tough economy especially in Law Enforcement  We do have to out weigh the costs and benefits of this type of technology to be used in the field in the fight against crime.  With the help that Police agencies can get from the use of these drones will be great in an efficient time saving way to doing police work but we will need to see some evidence of their effectiveness as well as some evidence of their intrusiveness.  Will the costs of the use of these drones out weigh the benefits of them?  I will have to say yes, I believe these drones to be a violation of our privacy under the Fourth Amendment and should be ruled unconstitutional with this type of use to just spy on the American public.

Andrew Serena



  1. I agree with your stance that the use of police drones will violate the civil rights of every U.S. citizen. These rights are supposed to be protected by the Fourth Amendment. The use of police drones sounds like a great idea when it comes to protecting citizens from criminals and using them to detect criminals. However, the use of these unseen devices causes me to cringe at the thought that the government will hold the power to survey me whenever and wherever they want. Drones will give law enforcement too much power, and as a result, our privacy will be severely impinged upon. The technology of the drone will inevitably be abused and the country may end up a complete police state. I for one believe that we have the right to privacy when we are going about our daily lives. The government should respect our rights, and I would hope the courts would deem the use of these drones without a search warrant as unconstitutional. I stand by the notion that our privacy should outweigh the benefits that come with using police drones.

  2. I enjoyed your blog. My stance is that the used of drones by police is nothing short of absurd! Unless you ask a police officer. I think that this is the sort of thing we as citizens must stand up against. We always seem to have little bits and pieces of freedom and privacy being taken away. Now there's a possibility in a couple years that there might be drones flying above us watching over us? I realize I'm taking the paranoid and cynical position of the argument but I can't help but feel that way. We would hope the police would use this new "toy" for good.

  3. George Orwell 1984. This is exactly where the world is going towards. Controlling what people do and where people go and spying on them constantly to make sure they aren't saying shit about the government. These drones are just another example of how much power the government has over the people (another example would be using GPS tracking on people's cars without their knowledge). More and more we are seeing our rights taken away because the government "feels" like they need to. Having these drones spy on us (even if they bullshit us in saying it's for police use) is just the beginning...

  4. I greatly enjoyed this blog for a number of reasons. I am taking an international law class and we actually just discussed the use of drones in the military. I don't really agree with the military using drones to bomb locations because of their indiscriminate nature and the potential loss of civilian life. That said, I completely agree with the author of this blog. I can understand using drones to search areas for missing kids or possibly for criminals fleeing at night, but if the government uses them to spy on people it is just wrong. It already seems as if much of our privacy is being violated and if the government is using drones the privacy violations will only get worse. If drones are allowed, they should only be for cases like I have mentioned, but I would hesitate to even allow them for that. Once the government starts using drones, they may gradually use them for more and more invasive things and it could gradually turn into the government spying on citizens.