11JAN10 Houston Police Dept. UAV? WTFO!
Adding to the surveillance society we've created since the 1980's... I can see the logic and reasoning in the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for police work, as we did so in Iraq on continuous basis. However, there is a significant difference in the legality of using UAV's in a warzone (Iraq) and stateside during peace when the Bill of Rights restricts unreasonable searches. When disaster strikes in a manner of Katrina or forest fires, and the UAV's have a payload specific to those operations, very well; and they'd better not encrypt the video feed to restrict the publics freedom of access to that information. For SWAT raids and drug busts, maybe encrypt and record, but it will be evidence to be utilized like any other police video, or it should be anyway (there I go again changing my 'tense' in the middle of a sentence).
As a veteran who used UAV feeds in combat, I find the civilian LEO use in this manner repulsive and disturbing. Not the least of which is the very 'secretive' test conducted without authorization from the FAA to use the airspace for that purpose. The Houston Police Department needs to be investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration for several violations! Not the least of which is falsely threatening action against the News Helicopter through the FAA (wasn't 'Balloon Boy' Dad hammered for attempting to influence a public official?), and NOT coordinating the FAA the launch of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in that block of airspace thereby putting a hazard to ALL aviation traffic in the airspace!
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- 11JAN10 Houston Police Dept. UAV? WTFO!
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