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ACLU: Drones Pose Serious Privacy Issues

December 22, 2011 by  

ACLU: Drones Pose Serious Privacy Issues

A recent report published by the American Civil Liberties Union says that the increasingly common use of military-style drones in domestic U.S. airspace is creating a considerable need for American privacy protections against drone surveillance.

In early 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to propose new rules to make it much easier for law enforcement agencies to gain permission to use drones in the United States. The ACLU says that Congress must act to ensure that provisions are in place that do not allow for encroachments on personal privacy.

The report details expanded domestic surveillance applications of aircraft ranging from larger drones like those currently being used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border to large blimps that can stay aloft for days that could be used for surveillance at altitudes much higher than winged aircraft.

The ACLU report also outlines the nature of the high-tech video software that many drones are equipped with, which has the capability to monitor any and all public spaces and some private. The report notes a new Air Force project called Gorgon Stare which would use multiple video cameras on drones to capture live images of entire cities with the capabilities to zoom in on individual targets and track their every move. The Air Force is seeking to put the system on a craft that can stay airborne for up to two weeks at a time.

Despite strong interest in deploying drones for law enforcement, so far the domestic use of drones has been held back by the FAA, which has proceeded cautiously, the report says. ACLU officials contend, though, that pressure from the multibillion-dollar defense industry may soon lead to widespread domestic drone use if the FAA lessens regulations.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • s c

    It just gets better all the time, doesn’t it? If I understand this scenario, it’s OK for the so-called MIC to do what it wants because our LOVING PREZ can’t or won’t tell the MIC to ‘back off.’ This also means that Congress will have to ‘think about it.’
    Can you feel the LOVE, America? It’s almost enough for a nationwide, touchy-feely group HUG.
    Stay tuned, folks. Somewhere, an unemployed screen writer is hard at work on a movie script so we can have another epic blockbuster extravaganza. One must always have fantasy and reality in a constant battle for our ‘hearts and minds.’

    • Domino

      already been done before~remember Terminator movies? Think I shall call Linda Hamilton to get her workout routine & suggestions on best ammo cuz Arnies’ gone ‘soft.

  • Herach

    My comment is not related to drones. I want to know why the ACLU has been silent while Congress and President Obama have passed legislation usurping our constitutional rights. The Defense Authority Bill is an abrogation of our basic protection from governmental tyranny. Seizure and incarcerration without due process, legal cousel Habeas Corpus and notification of family is horrific. Where is the outrage in the media, the Bar Association, the churches and the ACLU?I am ahamed of those responsible for passage of this bill and curious as to the complacency of the protectors of our basic rights.

    • wandamurline

      Where is the ACLU when the TSA officers are radiating you or groping you at the airport, tromping your 4th and 14th amendments daily? Every criminal in America enjoys the right of probable cause, mirandizing, warrant and right to counsel, except for the people trying to board a plane in America. They can pull you from a line without probable cause, seize your belongings without a warrant, without mirandizing you and without your right to legal counsel. Where is the ACLU? Where is the ACLU on the Patriot Act which give the government unbelievable power. The polticians try to explain to “keep you safe”….bull….it is to control you. We must change the landscape in Washington in 2012….anyone who voted for these items need to be fired along with the current president, his cabinet and the 30 unconstitutional czars….reduce the departments within the government to only the constitutional ones and send the rest packing. It is time for real CHANGE in America.

      • JoMama

        I not being racist when I answer your question, wandamurline – but as far as I can remember the ACLU is only here to help the minorities of this country & not the freedom fighting patriots who want to protect her. The ACLU is helpful when there is a different race – besides white – making the complaints. If you are African-American, European, Muslim, Mexican, Irish, Brazilian, Guatemalan, Nicaraguan, Honduran, Iraqi, Somalian, Chinese, North Korean, South Korean, Japanese, Hindu Indian, Russian, Scottish or illegally here – then the ACLU is here to help you. If I needed some help – I am almost positive they can’t help me.
        Hey – this is what our country has become….I will not conform.

    • cawmun cents

      Did you ever get the feeling that you are being watched?
      That thousands of eyes are viewing you with their abject scrutiny from afar?
      Look!Over there behind you.
      Someone is always watching….waiting for the chance to see whatever activity you are engaged in.
      Please resist the inclination to raise the middle digit of the hand,waving it at them in contempt.It only serves to incite them further.
      In California,you would just be sayin’howdy….
      But those eyes out there watching every single move you make serve a purpose….to violate your right to privacy,and the right to private conversations amongst yourselves which do not reflect on those who are watching in any way.Yet they must watch and listen,so that they can be sure there is no funny business afoot.
      They are the condom of conversation between you and whoever you are joined with in oration.Yes folks,now a condom is required between conversants.The gubment wouldnt want your fecund selves to become impregnated with improper ideas.That would be…..politically incorrect.I wonder if they have ever seen the serial numbers on their coonversational condoms….bet they cant roll it down that far.-CC.

      • JUKEBOX

        I wonder why the ACLU has not taken on WalMart, Target, and the hundreds of thousands of other places with security cameras.

        • Robert Smith

          Because the stores can document thieves and get them prosicuted. Besides it is THEIR property. Aren’t you allowed to put cameras on your property? Why do you treat them differently?

          After all, according to the SCOTUS corporations are people now.


          • http://naver Samurai

            Im also allowed to shoot trespassers that come up to or into my house by Indiana Law, not being charged either, so what does these things have to do with the SCOTUS or private businesses? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

          • s c

            If Ben – the Boob – Bernanke is ‘human,’ it’s only he’s the result of mad scientists who conduct experiments in eugenics. By the way, utopian, are you ready to admit that the Fed is the WORST corporation in America? If you’re not, you’ve just proved that you don’t know squat about corporations. Even a novice conservative knows that much. Food for thought, comrade.

    • eddie47d

      Herach; The ACLU is in the forefront of fighting the defense Authorization Bill and they don’t approve of the Patriot Act. So you are not correct in your assessment. When it comes to the TSA maybe the ACLU haven’t been asked to intervene. Someone has to come forward and make a request so now is your chance to do so.You could be an American hero if you stepped up to the plate and volunteered your services to stop the TSA.

      • Buster the Anatolian

        Yeah, just like a broken clock they on rare occasions get something right.

      • eddie47d

        There are too many broken clocks on the far right and so little time to fix them.

        • http://naver Samurai

          Te are more of them on the left and no time to fix them, as it would take an eternity and God’s intervention to complete that mission. Let’s not forget the mistakes made or not corrected when Obama bn Laden had a super majority in the Senate and Congress. Haven’t made that popping sound yet? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

    • Angelia

      I believe there is outrage but who is going to report it? There is no such thing as honest reporting any more. Why? It’s because it any reporter in the mainstream press actually dares to report the truth, they will no longer have access to the Idiots in Washington DC.

      There is no such thing as truth in reporting. The news that we get has been spun in a washing machine, it doesn’t look anything like the original truth. One day soon, we may have to re-visit the Declaration of Independence and clean house and start all over. The choice will be would you rather die on your feet or live in your knees.

      • Robert Smith

        News organizations are mostly big corporations that are heavily regulated by the FCC, SEC, OSHA,and a bunch others who can jerk their chain anytime they want.

        There ain’t no such thing as “liberal” media.


        • http://naver Samurai

          Wanna bet? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

        • Joe H.

          Just by saying that, you are part of the liberal prog media!!!

  • JB

    Ah, our ACLU – such realistic concerns about being peeked upon – - when the nation is bankrupt, incompetent, inept, & divided beyond belief.
    I really worry about someone/something checking on my personal habits/actions/behavior – - – because I NEVER find myself in “conflict” with police, neighbors, church, gov’t agencies, international issues/agencies, laws – - – or almost anything worth monitoring or investigating. While I don’t agree with everything I see, I just can’t imagine worrying about some drone in my airspace and being used against me – - until our nation is healthier than it is. FEAR is not strength ! ! ! !

    • FedUp

      Your writing on the subject leads to one of two obvious conclusions: you are shilling for the government or you don’t understand the magnitude of the issue. Either way, your belief contributes to the reality that we have lost our natural rights, forget the guarantees in the Bill of Rights.

    • cawmun cents

      (please see my above comment)
      Trojan Gubment Man!says,”Our conversational condoms are 20% more effective at removing dangerous thoughts and ideas than most other countries.
      We would’nt want our citizens becoming impregnated with improper ideas.”
      (Trojan Gubment Man brand covnversational condoms,may not be bought sold,distributed,or otherwise bribed by any source,and is for use only by the express written consent of the National Security Agency.All tax,licensing,and documents apply in all areas with the exception of Washington D.C.and its affiliated associates.
      Avoid prolonged use of this product with out the consent of your local internet provider,as it may cause symptoms of qiet acceptance and tolerance for ideas which you previously found unconscionable.)

  • http://Boblivingston Gottaplenty

    Why all the fuss,,, Obummer says we are safer than we have ever been since he flew over the coo coo’snest on his way for another vacation.

    • Robert Smith

      Actually we are safer.

      Remember, science can fly us to the moon.

      Religion flies folks into buildings.


      • Buster the Anatolian

        “Actually we are safer.’

        Safer, not a chance. What we (meaning most but not all citizens of the US) are is more compliant and believing of the governments claims that TSA is saving us from disasters while they take ever more of our rights from us.

      • http://naver Samurai

        Actually, science gave us WMD’s, manditory vaccines, fluride in our water, etc., but religion gave us morals, ethics, and a knowledge of the here after. Haven’t made that popping sound yet? FOR GOD AND COUNTRY!

        P.S. Rob, let’s keep Christ in Christmas.

      • s c

        False religions that manipulate via mortal ‘gods’ who profess infallibility fly planes into buildings. Do you think political ‘gods’ are any different?
        All political ‘gods’ are mortal. Your standards are low by choice (why?). You expect a man-made utopia to be the highest expression of mankind’s ‘genius.’ Utopias and democracies are built on sand. Enjoy your utopia – you may deserve it. Maybe you can be a cheerleader for your political ‘savior.’ No ‘savior’ would need an ACLU.

  • bluejacket

    What is it the gov’t wants to see? Women sun bathing? Citizens shopping, or doing their laundry? WTF are they afraid of that they feel the need to watch our every move?

  • cawmun cents

    The papparazzi are using the drones to take illegal movies of young starlets having sex.The movies will then be put on-line and used to damage the credibility of the actresses in question,making it hard for them to obtain any quality role from the Hollywood elite,who would never portray our beloved youthful vixens,as indecent in any way.The only problem seems to be one of turning the drones in flight inside sleazy Sunset Strip Motels.-CC.

  • http://na Jim

    I can hardly wait for one of these drones or blimps to collide with a commercial aircraft and come crashing down. Explain that one to the public.

  • americanfreedom70

    Funny how we can afford to fly mulyti-million dollar drones over American airspace, yet we seem to be incapable of providing social security to the seniors that have been paying for it their entire lives. We seem to have plenty of monies for things the “average” citizen would consider unworthy or frivilous, but no money to “bail out” the middle class that is more than willing to work (harder than citizens of most other countries) for it. Socializm, opression, suspition, incarseration. Gotta love it. They told us so, or they will lock us up.

    • CCarry

      Good comment, and right on theme. Have to add that deciding to stop this “big brother” monitoring of citizens is something that the ACLU got right.

      • s c

        CCarry, the ACLU takes on issues at its convenience. It is “dedicated” to common sense and
        the Constitution the same way Obummer is. That is, “when it’s convenient, I’ll think about abiding by the Constitution. When it’s convenient, I’ll treat the Constitution like it’s a small roll of toilet paper.”
        We can’t afford the ACLU or Obummer. Both hate freedom, they’re anti-American, and they are throwbacks to old Russia’s ‘enlightened leaders.’
        Trust Obummer and the ACLU the same way you’d treat a career criminal who wants to move into your house and show you how to properly ‘safeguard’ your family and your valuables.

  • Buck

    This is drastic , it would have to be to find myself agreeing with the ACLU . The American Crushing Liberty Union has violated its communist manifesto by actually objecting to surveilance of privare citizens . They had better start looking for a hidden American in their midst .

  • BobfromSoCal

    Those dam drones had better have a search warrant on them before they look at me or my back yard.

    • Legion Bro

      Amen to that, though I wonder how they would deliver it.

      Speaking of drones flying over my back yard, that reminds me. I’ve been thinking about taking up skeet shooting. I should talk to my neighbors. I think they would like it too.

  • Love America

    It’s all a Nazi plot. The bad guys, always want to make the Good guys, look like a bad guy, so that the focus isn’t on the real bad guys.


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