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  1. #1
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    Drones over the US -- The Electric Eye in the Sky



    A foretelling ..................


    Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety


    June 19, 2012

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The prospect that thousands of drones could be patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is raising the specter of a Big Brother government that peers into backyards and bedrooms.

    The worries began mostly on the political margins, but there are signs that ordinary people are starting to fret that unmanned aircraft could soon be circling overhead.

    Jeff Landry, a freshman Republican congressman from Louisiana's coastal bayou country, said constituents have stopped him while shopping at Walmart to talk about it.

    "There is a distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government," Landry said. "It's raising an alarm with the American public."

    Another GOP freshman, Rep. Austin Scott, said he first learned of the issue when someone shouted out a question about drones at a Republican Party meeting in his Georgia congressional district two months ago.

    An American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist, Chris Calabrese, said that when he speaks to audiences about privacy issues generally, drones are what "everybody just perks up over."

    "People are interested in the technology, they are interested in the implications and they worry about being under surveillance from the skies," he said.

    The level of apprehension is especially high in the conservative blogosphere, where headlines blare "30,000 Armed Drones to be Used Against Americans" and "Government Drones Set to Spy on Farms in the United States."

    When Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, suggested during a radio interview last month that drones be used by police domestically since they've done such a good job on foreign battlefields, the political backlash was swift. NetRightDaily complained: "This seems like something a fascist would do. ... McDonnell isn't pro-Big Government, he is pro-HUGE Government."

    John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Va., which provides legal assistance in support of civil liberties and conservative causes, warned the governor, "America is not a battlefield, and the citizens of this nation are not insurgents in need of vanquishing."

    There's concern as well among liberal civil liberties advocates that government and private-sector drones will be used to gather information on Americans without their knowledge. A lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation of San Francisco, whose motto is "defending your rights in the digital world," forced the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year to disclose the names of dozens of public universities, police departments and other government agencies that have been awarded permission to fly drones in civilian airspace on an experimental basis.

    Giving drones greater access to U.S. skies moves the nation closer to "a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities," the ACLU warned last December in a report.

    The anxiety has spilled over into Congress, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers have been meeting to discuss legislation that would broadly address the civil-liberty issues raised by drones. A Landry provision in a defense spending bill would prohibit information gathered by military drones without a warrant from being used as evidence in court. A provision that Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., added to another bill would prohibit the Homeland Security Department from arming its drones, including ones used to patrol the border.

    Scott and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have introduced identical bills to prohibit any government agency from using a drone to "gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a regulation" without a warrant.

    The backlash has drone makers concerned. The drone market is expected to nearly double over the next 10 years, from current worldwide expenditures of nearly $6 billion annually to more than $11 billion, with police departments accounting for a significant part of that growth.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20120619/D9VG2EI80.html

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rover View Post


    A foretelling ..................


    Talk of drones patrolling US skies spawns anxiety


    June 19, 2012

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The prospect that thousands of drones could be patrolling U.S. skies by the end of this decade is raising the specter of a Big Brother government that peers into backyards and bedrooms.

    The worries began mostly on the political margins, but there are signs that ordinary people are starting to fret that unmanned aircraft could soon be circling overhead.

    Jeff Landry, a freshman Republican congressman from Louisiana's coastal bayou country, said constituents have stopped him while shopping at Walmart to talk about it.

    [/url]
    Okay, once I read that part I had to move on. Too easy
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  3. #3
    Eruption
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    Drones watching us from the sky!?!? Wait a minute while I post this on Facebook. I'll probably also post some sensitive personal info while I'm logged in from my iPhone.
    Last edited by Burning Tires; 06.19.12 at 09:57 AM.
    Staying Frosty

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk edwardv's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 12:15 PM
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    I saw a drone yesterday it was made in China.
    EVH 1979: Well, actually it's not much of a vacation, because we run everything ourselves. We design our own album cover, we have to be in the office every day to sign checks - the whole corporation revolves around us. Nothing can be done without our approval. We even have photo approval.

  5. #5
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    02.21.17 @ 07:16 PM
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    I saw a drone drinking a Pina Colada at "Trader Vic's" and his lens was perfect!

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Drone manufacturers will soon line the pockets of the gentlemen who are currently concerned. Their concern will magically disappear.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

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  7. #7
    Good Enough vcooper3's Avatar
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    Imagine the uproar if one of these unmanned aircraft caused a mid-air collision with a manned aircraft... The backlash would be intense.

  8. #8
    Hang 'Em High
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    Quote Originally Posted by vcooper3 View Post
    Imagine the uproar if one of these unmanned aircraft caused a mid-air collision with a manned aircraft... The backlash would be intense.
    I imagine the UFO sightings will increase....

    Or...a sky diver, or a hot air ballonist, or a paraglider, or a parasailer, or glider aircraft.


  9. #9
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    10.30.17 @ 05:08 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rover View Post
    I imagine the UFO sightings will increase....

    Or...a sky diver, or a hot air ballonist, or a paraglider, or a parasailer, or glider aircraft.

    Or a kid in a balloon because his parents are idiots....
    It is what it is

    I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said

    I could tell that my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    TUCSON, Ariz. -- An aerial drone, zooming somewhere out of sight high above the cooling scrubland, first spotted the group of nearly two dozen migrants.

    Snaking through the Sonoran Desert on a warm, moonless night last month, the would-be immigrants traversed the rugged foothills southwest of Tucson, a few miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.

    It had been a relatively quiet shift in that area for U.S. Border Patrol agents, who paused to chat in their passing green-and-white SUVs as dusk crept closer. But just after 10 p.m. agents perked up, their radios crackling with activity.

    A fixed-wing Cessna took over from the Predator B unmanned plane and from overhead the pilot helped direct agents toward the migrants, who wove around ocotillo and brush.

    A helicopter swooped in, its spotlight beaming over the hillside and rotors slicing the desert solitude as agents dropped down a ridge to chase the scattering group.

    All told, a dozen men and women in olive uniforms converged. They rounded up eight of the migrants, walked them toward their gathered trucks and lined them up in a shallow drainage ditch along a washboard dirt road. A few of the migrants asked about the "camera in the sky" that had caught them.

    A pilotless aircraft may have awed the failed migrants, but such success stories about U.S. Customs and Border Protection's quarter-billion-dollar drone program come in short supply, according to a Homeland Security Department inspector general's report released Monday.

    Grounded by wind and bad weather, costly maintenance and poor planning, the underachieving aircraft have flown only a fraction of the agency's desired flight time from four bases in Arizona, Texas, Florida and North Dakota, the inspector general found.

    In Arizona, where the agency keeps four drones, agents seemed pleasantly surprised that an unmanned craft had aided their efforts, though they had apprehended fewer than half of the detected migrants.

    In its audit, however, the inspector general recommended that the agency stop buying the drones, manufactured by Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, until officials can properly plan how to get the most out of the unmanned planes and budget for the program, which includes having enough equipment to perform their mission.

    "CBP has not adequately planned to fund unmanned aircraft-related equipment," such as ground control stations, ground support equipment, cameras and navigation systems, the inspector general report says. "As a result of CBP's insufficient funding approach, future UAS [unmanned aerial systems] missions may have to be curtailed."

    Customs and Border Protection officials said they concurred with the inspector general's recommendations and were committed to continuing to improve the drone program. In its written response to the inspector general's report, the agency said it had no plans to add more drones beyond the 10 already in operation or on order "unless directed by a higher authority."

    The agency's previously stated goal was to expand to 24 drones, which cost about $18.5 million for the Predator B and $20.5 million for the maritime version, known as the Guardian, to operate. Those costs include maintenance, surveillance technology and ground equipment.

    In the past year the agency has added two unmanned aircraft to its underutilized fleet and expects to receive its 10th system by September. The agency can still purchase up to 24 drones, but authorization is based on the availability of funding.

    Officials this year also hope to secure permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to extend drone coverage just east of the San Diego metropolitan area, the last major section of the Southwest border to be patrolled by the aircraft.

    Drones now patrol about 1,200 miles along the Southwest border from the Gulf of Mexico to just east of El Centro in southeastern California and can stay aloft for 20 hours.

    Championed by Congress, derided by critics

    The report echoes what critics -- including some Border Patrol agents -- have long said about the expensive, remotely controlled Predator B fleet.

    They point to what they view as the program's meager returns since it began since 2006, as the drones have assisted in the seizure of nearly 50,000 pounds of drugs and the detention of about 7,500 people.

    By comparison, decades-old P-3 Orion propeller planes, which once hunted submarines for the Navy, in the past five years have aided in the seizure or disruption of 863,000 pounds of drugs -- including 148,000 pounds of cocaine last year alone. Agency officials have described the plane as an "unsung hero."

    "It is my sense that Congress has consistently overlooked (dare I say, 'ignored') not only the operational effectiveness, but also the cost effectiveness of the Predator [unmanned aerial vehicle] as a border surveillance tool," David Olive, a Washington-based homeland security consultant, wrote last year for the Security Debrief blog.

    Customs and Border Protection officials have defended the drones, saying they are also used to assist in disaster and emergency relief, such as flooding, and other reconnaissance. The Office of Air and Marine also has flown missions for other agencies, including the FBI, FEMA, the Defense Department, Texas Rangers and the U.S. Forest Service.

    Critics like Olive have said that the drones haven't met expectations in other situations, such as the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, when the on-scene commander waved off the drones after a couple of weeks because they weren't helpful.

    The inspector general also found that the agency does not have agreements to get reimbursed for missions flown for other agencies nor does it have a formal process to handle requests from outside agencies or ways to prioritize such missions.

    In 2011, the agency's Office of Air and Marine flew its drones more than ever -- roughly 4,500 hours and 75 percent above any other fiscal year.

    But that flight time amounts to a quarter of the agency's goal. The systems cost about $3,200 per hour to fly, for a total of about $14.5 million last year alone.

    The result: Unmanned aircraft last year helped to find about 7,600 pounds of marijuana and apprehend 75 people suspected of engaging in illicit activities, according to the agency.

    Overall, the U.S. Border Patrol, which is also part of Customs and Border Protection, in 2011 seized more than 2.5 million pounds of marijuana and apprehended 340,252 people, agency records show.

    Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who has championed drones as the Democratic co-chairman of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, said that Customs and Border Protection has to go back to the basics and come up with a sound strategic plan for its drones.

    "The first thing any agency should have is a strategic plan. I assumed they had a plan," said Cuellar. "We have to know where we are going before we start buying any more of the assets."

    Yet, the program -- and drones in general -- continue to receive wide-ranging support from lawmakers. The unmanned systems caucus, which promotes "the overwhelming value" of drones and "the urgent need to rapidly develop and deploy" more of them, has nearly 60 members, including 11 California representatives and the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

    The House Homeland Security Appropriations subcommittee recently pushed for an increase above the Homeland Security Department's request for $18.6 million to buy, deploy and operate sensors and other equipment used on its existing drones.

    The Senate Armed Services Committee, meanwhile, has called for the broader use of unmanned aircraft in the country's national airspace as large numbers of drones used in Afghanistan and other operations may return to the United States as those battles wind down.

    "Without the ability to operate freely and routinely in the [National Airspace System], UAS (unmanned aerial system) development and training -- and ultimately operational capabilities -- will be severely impacted," according to a recent committee report.

    Technologically advanced -- weather permitting

    Touted for their technological advances and airborne omniscience, the drones require on average an hour of maintenance for every hour in the air, the report states.

    Between 2006 and 2011, the agency spent $55.3 million to operate and maintain the drones. Congress has only appropriated $12.6 million for such costs, which include training, satellite links, facility rental and contractor support, since the agency's drone program began, according to the report.

    Customs and Border Protection figures show that Congress has appropriated $240.6 million to establish, operate and maintain the unmanned aircraft program, which consists of 10 systems, and spent about $224 million.

    Yet, winds often keep the drones on the ground, as it happened in late May when a reporter visited the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station, where two such aircraft are based. Cuellar said in his two visits to the base pilots could not launch or retrieve crafts because of weather conditions. The Predator B design allows it to take off and land in winds up to 30 miles per hour.

    Cuellar said he plans to address the issue next week during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee meeting. He said he has pushed the agency to station the drones at other places that provide more consistent flight conditions. But officials have been "stubborn" about keeping the drones on military bases for security reasons.

    "That's almost insulting to say there's no other place along the Texas border that can provide security for [unmanned aircraft]," he said.
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  11. #11
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    There's a drone in the white house.
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  12. #12
    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    I don't get the invasion of privacy issue honestly. As someone mentioned above, there is ready lots of personal info out there already- by our choice.

    Also, if you're concerned about privacy, I'll bank you're likely doing shit that warrants concern you'll get busted.

  13. #13
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    That's not the point.

    I am not doing anything illegal, and there is no fucking way I want the government involved in surveilance of American citizens.

    I don't trust them as far as I can throw Barney Frank.
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  14. #14
    Baluchitherium Scott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    That's not the point.

    I am not doing anything illegal, and there is no fucking way I want the government involved in surveilance of American citizens.

    I don't trust them as far as I can throw Barney Frank.
    What do you care though? It's not like they have tape recorders in your house / etc. The drones fly above and see you sunbathing, BBQ'ing or cutting the lawn? Who cares.

    If the drone flies over top, see's a massive heat signature from a house - maybe there's a grow op there - and it'll give the cops reason to knock on the door. If you've got nothing there - no harm no foul.
    Winners come and go; legends are forever.

  15. #15
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott View Post
    What do you care though? It's not like they have tape recorders in your house / etc. The drones fly above and see you sunbathing, BBQ'ing or cutting the lawn? Who cares.

    If the drone flies over top, see's a massive heat signature from a house - maybe there's a grow op there - and it'll give the cops reason to knock on the door. If you've got nothing there - no harm no foul.
    Yeah, but lets say you are hydroponically growing vegetables in your house because your soil outside sucks or whatever the reason may be. The drones flying over head spot a heat signature, they notify local authorities and before you know it your cities swat team is knocking down your door with a search warrant and detaining you and your family until they figure out they have made a mistake. You call that no harm no foul.

    Personally, I've got nothing to hide except for my privacy, which I would like to keep it that way. PRIVATE
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

 

 

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