To provide a centralized location to discuss and comment on the government(s) use of same.
Drone Flights in the US
December 9, 2012 at 11:39 am #174293
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US
Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
While the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace (which is almost everywhere else in the US). And, as we’ve learned from these records, the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country. This is problematic, given a recent New York Times report that the Air Force’s drone operators sometimes practice surveillance missions by tracking civilian cars along the highway adjacent to the base.
The records show that the Air Force has been testing out a bunch of different drone types, from the smaller, hand-launched Raven, Puma and Wasp drones designed by Aerovironment in Southern California, to the much larger Predator and Reaper drones responsible for civilian and foreign military deaths abroad. The Marine Corps is also testing drones, though it chose to redact so much of the text from its records that we still don't know much about its programs.
December 9, 2012 at 11:40 am #174299
December 9, 2012 at 11:46 am #174297
More Information and COMMENTARY from the Hit & Run Blog from reason.com
Military Makes Extensive Domestic Use of Drones, FAA Documents Reveal
J.D. Tuccille|Dec. 6, 2012 11:54 am
You can find out the most fascinating things from government documents, especially from those that officials didn't really want to release. In particular, Federal Aviation Administration records pried from federal clutches by that legalistic jaws-of-life known as a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit reveal that the military is sending previously unknown flocks of drones into the American skies. While the main purpose of domestic flights appears to be testing and training, these drones do have sophisticated surveillance capabilities that could be deployed right here at home — and have been, if only for the purposes of operator practice and amusement.
This informational bonanza comes courtesy of requirements that the military get FAA permission to fly drones outside of restricted airspace, in the skies over almost the entire country. That the records exist means, therefore, that the military does exactly that. The data dump revealed flights by the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Says EFF:
December 9, 2012 at 11:55 am #174295
NOT directly related to the release of information from FAA but IMO an interesting/related read from Huffington Post:
There's No Place Like Drone
It's dark and the headlights can hardly keep up with the twists and turns in the hillside road. The driver nervously tries to keep two hands on the wheel, while attempting to survey the sky above for signs of the drone flying overhead, snapping pictures every second.
Sound like a scene out of a spy thriller? This could be the new reality in the Hollywood Hills in the not too distant future -- maybe even tomorrow.
The reports of TMZ's application to use aerial drones have been roundly denied by the celebrity gossip site and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but that's only a small slice of the story. TMZ might not have its eyes on a drone (yet) but they aren't alone.
And, it's not illegal.
In fact, Congress has mandated that the FAA open U.S. air space to unmanned aerial drones by fall of 2015. We'll inch incrementally closer in May next year, when the skies will open in unrestricted, non-military airspace within select markets. Drones weighing less than 55 pounds will be permitted -- with the rules about who can fly them, where and why still under development.
These drones are not exclusively for law enforcement or national security. They could theoretically be used for news gathering, photography and, in that strange intersection of celebrity, news and photography -- by paparazzi. There is even a Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
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