Sunday, March 31, 2013

Drones: Coming To A Police Department Near You

"AR Drone: almost certainly the world's
first Wi-Fi enabled iPhone-controllable
miniature flying device"
(H/T Glenn Greenwald)
Domestic law enforcement use of drones, probably smaller, more agile drones than the ones that fling Hellfire missiles in foreign countries (Pakistan etc.), is not only planned, but is being implemented domestically and being marketed to American police departments. These small drones are weaponized with Tasers or a beanbag gun... "nonlethal" weapons. This is not something that may happen, or will happen in the future: this is something being implemented and marketed right now. Glenn Greenwald provides such details as are known.

Many of your rights as an American citizen, as listed in the Bill of Rights, are for practical purposes at an end. Gratuitous warrantless surveillance is now a technologically realistic possibility; who's to stop your government from watching you?

As I think about the history of various new weapons, I can't help wondering if these technologies have some inherent vulnerabilities to simple, inexpensive countermeasures that will reduce their usefulness to police departments or at least make them very expensive to operate. Pebbles from pocket sling-shots or pea-shooters come to mind. Legal prohibitions against such countermeasures seem to me less than clearly sustainable in the face of people's Fourth Amendment right to be "secure in their persons... against unreasonable searches...", but IANAL. I don't know how much such defenses would be reality and how much fantasy, but it seems to me worth contemplating the possibilities: what are your privacy rights worth to you?

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