Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 9:22 am
I don't see the probem with the big eye in the sky, as long as it is not used to harrass innocent people. London has CCTV everywhere, and it definitely helps with solving and preventing crime. Londoners don't seem to mind it.
Drones can watch the border for illegal entry...what's wrong with that? How about illegal drug production out in the boonies? Why not avoid cop chase events on our highways (just let the drone track the final location, then make the arrest)? Attacks on people can be observed from above, making the police response/investigation much easier.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 10:58 am
> How is the city going afford a drone patrol?
I think this is the wrong question. With limited police resources, we need increased efficiency. Drones could provide this. For example, instead of endless, clueless investigations, direct video evidence might be obtained from the drones. PAPD does not need to own the fleet, they could just contract with a private regional firm...and probably save money overall.
Posted by Rresident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm
Sadly drones are thoroughly misunderstood by the average citizen because all they've ever heard about are drones being used in Pakistan to kill people.
However, drones are being used very successfully for peaceful purposes and by scientists studying the atmosphere. Recently my son led a team of scientists who used drones to collect and study pollution in monsoon clouds over the Indian Ocean. They were doing research into what effect these particles have on increased rainfall.
Posted by Drones could be good, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm
A drone would allow a first responder to see inside a dangerous situation. Imagine a drone available to search a collapsing building for survivors. Puting a drone instead of a person in harm's way makes sense. This is just a tool. Banning all use is silly.
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm
1. Drones are infallible. Just look at all the reports on the CIA drones, they never miss. Well, IF there were actual reports available, I'm sure that's what they'd say.
2. Drones never hit an innocent person. The CIA tells us they always hit a terrorist, so therefore anyone nearby is obviously a terrorist sympathizer, who therefore has to die. Not a single terrorist sympathizer has come forward to lodge a complaint after getting killed, ergo, they were bad guys. Ditto the police, if the drone is used to watch you, even by mistake, golly, you must be guilty of SOMETHING. If not, we'll invent a crime, after all, we ave to justify the new system and the new money for it, and protect the person who choose you as a clearly suspicious miscreant.
3. Costs be damned. Let's add another layer of law enforcement, good strong union jobs. Besides, the Dept of Homeland Security is always willing to fund local drones. To defend the fatherland, um, HomeLand.
4. We can even heed the words of Wayne Lapierrre, arm drones with weapons and patrol schools. Don't use qualified, trained, background checked police, just have the school administrator do it from her office.
Even being so pro-drone, I have to ask what drones used by scientists up in the atmosphere have to do with PA? Ditto, the number of fallen buildings we've had in the last three decades? And how does a drone from the sky see through rubble of a fallen building? That's quite a reach. Stick with the dogs. They're non-union, after all.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I think there is paranoia going on here. If PAPD had a contract with a private or public entity to provide an eye in the sky, it would probably reduce the number of union-wage police on the ground. It is a simple efficiency and safety issue. There is no real possibility of the drones being armed, and shooting down on U.S. citizens.
We should not allow the black helicopter crowd to hijack and deny this new technology, which can provide a lot of good.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm
Public safety relies on private resources at many levels, even at very basic levels, like armored trucks to collect cash, and private servers for divorce notification, and bounty hunters to chase down the skippers. Don't forget the private contracts for helicopters. Basically, it is a tool, not an issue.
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm
Banks using armored trucks is a public safety issue? That's a private company doing a free market activity. Unless you are telling us that is a police function?
Law firms hiring a server to deliver divorce notifications is a police function?
Sketchy examples to try and justify outsourcing a police function.
But let's look at the first thing promised by law enforcement and their new toys: "I promise not to spy on ordinary citizens, seriously, I pinky swear!"
With a promise like that, tell me, is the only question left to be asked: "how long before they do it?"
Yup. Think about the cop who does an innocent, quick little peek at the background of the guy dating his ex. What's the harm? Golly, just checking up on the ol' battleax. So what if it's YOUR son who's dating a woman, unbeknownst to him, that was going out with a guy who's having problems letting go. Hope your son didn't have a little wine when he's pulled over!
So, spying on innocent civilians - not a matter of if, but when.
This month: "Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern promised Tuesday to prohibit the use of a remote-controlled aerial drone for surveillance missions on ordinary citizens...."
A genuine pinky swear!
What could possibly go wrong if we take the responsibility and accountability and move it even a step further away, with less transparency? Thanks, Gary, I agree: no outsourcing. We need accountability and transparency on anything related to our most important constitutional freedoms.
Posted by safety first, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 3:58 pm
To increase safety in our neighborhoods, all we have to do is post armed guards at all schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, parks, and anywhere else you want to be safe. This is so easy, why isn't anyone other than the NRA in favor of creating a police state?
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm
"Speed monitored by radar or plane"
Very common warning on our roads, innocent of speeding, or not.
What about all those helicopters, with or without their powerful spotlights, that look into the yards of innocent citizens, when trying to track an alleged perp? What about the cops demanding security videos from private stores, as they try to identify an accused perp?
If the eye in the sky gets abused by the authorities, the courts will deal with it.
Quite a few paranoids out today...is it the stormy weather, or disappointment that the Mayan calendar did't accurately predit the End?
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 24, 2012 at 9:47 am
If, in a rare case, a business did not want to turn security videos over to the police for review, the police could just go to a judge and get a warrent based on probable cause that the video would provide essential evidence. Either way, the police get their video.
My civil liberties are best protected when crime is suppressed. That is why Londoners are OK with CCTV.
There are a few people here with bees in their bonnets. They seem to like to protest for the sake of protesting. Lots of scare tactics and parnoia, too (e.g. using weaponized drones on innocent U.S. civilians)
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 24, 2012 at 10:37 am
John: You've got it! It's called a search warrant, which supports constitutionally protected privacy.
A search warrant also provides transparency, accountability and a paper trail, which does much to discourage abuse.
There is much to be discussed, discovered and litigated regarding aerial drones and the fourth amendment. So far, most of it has not been ruled upon. Take the comparison to the police tracking someone with GPS over a long period, opposed to a shorter period. We have Jones which says short term is okay, but GPS tracking over a longer perriod, such as a month, requires a warrant due to the volume of information gathered over that period.
A drone collects at least that volume of information.
Without the proper accountability, abuses will occur. That's always the case (see the analogy about your kid's dating life above.)
Good call by poster "insane" above and the read: 1984.
Also, under suggested reading, see: Amendment IV
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
What do you have against our founders, and the great American value of protected privacy? If you are willing to give that away, what other constitutionally protected freedoms are you willing to give away? The 2nd amendment? The first? The right for all to vote?
If so, one wonders, why do you consider yourself an American citizen? What kind of citizen doesn't fight to defend the Constitution of the United States of America?
Perhaps the type that thinks *others* are paranoid, have bees in their bonnets or are protesting for the sake of protesting,with supposed scare tactics and another dose of "parnoia".
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated"
If drones invade your interior homes and read your papers, then a judge should, and will rule it unconsitutional. In the meantime, drones will do what helicopters and security video do now: Observe the observable outside our homes, a very reasonable thing, considering the plague of criminals that infect modern society. For example, EPA might be MUCH safer with drones providing observation for the police. The gangbangers in EPA get away with murder, literally.
Posted by Fred, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 24, 2012 at 3:11 pm
I would be happy to have drones do what security cameras already do - provide a useful extension of police resources and make us safer. Make Palo Alto drone free? Far from it, I would welcome drones (providing they aren't too noisy).
Posted by are you selling drones?, a member of the Palo Alto High School community, on Dec 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm
So persistent...are you in the business of selling drones?
I oppose their use here, over us civilians, because of the extreme risk of privacy being violated and because they could be used for political purposes against someone's political competitors. I have understood the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan oppose the U.S. using drones, they build ill-will, I have no idea if they spy on the correct or incorrect people, real criminals or whatnot.
The idea that union police force would/could be reduce on the basis of purchase/use of these drones here is laughable - would never happen. There never is a material reduction in government union ranks (I am not focusing particularly on police, by the way)that lasts any significant period of time.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm
I can only speak personally, but I am not involved directly nor indirectly, in the drone business.
Drones are an efficiency tool. Imagine that our police departments do not need to do old school stakeouts anymore, wasting valuable police resources. Imagine the bad guys, fearing to drive/walking/running away from their crime...this means that the crimes will be reduced, before they happen.
The paranoia about political mischief is overblown...let the courts deal with it, if it occurs.
Let's get the drones in here, as the police see fit.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm
The police, with drones, could put a spotlight on my home forever...big waste of time, because I don't break the law. The police have better things to do with their time and resources. Let's consider a much more real situation: A bank robbery goes down, and the perp runs out of the bank to a getaway car, which gets dumped, and the perps take on a hidden car for their getaway...all caught by the drone. Zippo, the perps get arrested, along with their stolen monies.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm
>You claim to be innocent, but then talk of robbery.
I watch the crime channel...seen many variations by the perps. That is one reason that drones make so much sense.
If, after the next bank robbery on the Penninsula, the cops want to set up a camera outide my house (and waste valuable resources), they are quite welcome to do it. However, drones are much more efficient, including my home in the scan. Trust me, I won't have a problem, because I don't do robberies. Are you concerned?
Posted by Sean- ster, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 10:03 am
Watching too much crime channel! So do criminals in jail, therefore, ergo, its obvious you could be a risk, with potentially subvervise blog postings above about bank robbery and perps (editor, pls read: irony)
Therefore, cheapest, easiest solution is not drone in sky but a FULL TIME CAMERA pointed at your house front and back.
Very low cost compared to drone.
And john agrees its a good thing to be under constant watch, gives up 4th amenment privacy.
Brave new world, 1984 is.
No privacy for John since he wants to give up everyone elses privacy.
Thanks for volunteering yourself for full time cameras, John
Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 10:50 am
I started this thread because I wanted to see a debate about the limits of infringement on the laws America's had on the books ever since freeing itself from England. Instead, this has turned into a discussion about whether or not drones make us safer from crime.
Whether or not drones make us safer from crime, in my opinion, is besides the point. The Bill of Rights says:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
To my reading, 'particularly describing the place to be searched' makes it abundantly clear that unwarranted observation of large swathes of the population by drones that by definition watch over large areas, is unconstitutional. To disagree by saying that drones could reduce crime is, in effect, an argument that crime *must* be reduced at all cost, even if it means reducing our personal freedoms. That idea is *nowhere* in our laws, nor should it be.
I'm open to dissuasion, but how can those not against domestic drone use disagree?
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 11:06 am
With John admitting he has no problem with 24 hour camera surveillance of his house, front and back, by the police, all the while claiming to be an innocent American citizen, in my opinion disqualifies him from the discussion...
... as he has already given up his 4th amendment rights, and again in my opinion, FAR too easily.
Anyone so willing to cavalierly give up his constitutional rights shall not speak for me about my rights as an American citizen. What kind of American gives up so easily on the constitution when so many have worked and died defending it?
re: your comment on drones, privacy and the blessed 4th, there is valid commentary above (see the post above addressing US v Jones, for example.)
This is not a left vs right issue -- it is a issue of constitutionally protected freedom and privacy.
"In June, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a bill to “protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.”
Paul’s bill mandates that:
A person or entity acting under the authority [of], or funded in whole or in part by, the Government of the United States shall not use a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant that satisfies the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Senator Paul explained, “Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics.” "
We can find similar sentiments from the far left as well.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Aerial survelience (e.g. helicopters) has not been found to be unconstitutional, despite all your claims to the contrary. Let's not forget all those satellites that can look into our backyards. Rand Paul seems to want to make it so, but he has not yet prevailed, has he? The 4th Ammendment was written to prevent the kind of abuse seen during the pre-revolutionary period, where British soldiers kicked in doors.
The benefits of the eye in the sky far outweight its (potential) abuse, and we have the courts as a backup to counter abusive use.
Those who are claiming potential abuse (by drones)refuse to consider their benefits. They probably have not had their civil rights violated by criminals, nor have they had relatives killed in high speed highway chases...and the list goes on.
Posted by Fred, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm
@Chris, I think I miss your point. As pointed out above, the drones don't violate the 4th amendment, any more than satellites, helicopters or government agents on foot. I suppose your view can be tested in the courts, but based on a plain reading, I don't see the problem. I don't see people arguing that the drones utility overrides constitutional protection; the argument is that there is no conflict.
You could make an argument that it is constitutional, but is a bad idea anyway, just as one might argue that surveillance cameras are bad, or having cops on every corner. My sense, though is that they are generally more useful than dangerous.
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:28 pm
"The 4th Ammendment was written to prevent the kind of abuse seen during the pre-revolutionary period, where British soldiers kicked in doors."
The 4th Amendment IS NOW INTERPRETED to prevent the kind of abuse that technology has provided, whether it be the modern equivalent of British soldiers kicking in doors, or police and other governmental agencies overstepping the bounds of the constitution.
John: don't be so obtuse as to consider that we do not understand the possible benefits, as well as the risk inherent with, modern surveillance, and IT'S LAWFUL, WARRANTED application within the framework of the 4th amendment.
Flying drones over your house all day, every day is an invasion of privacy as described in the 4th amendment.
If a Waco type event occurs, probable cause exists to justify a warrant and use of appropriate surveillance, including drones if allowed under the court's supervision (via it's constitutionally mandated warrant.) That warrant provides transparency, accountability and a paper trail of the police agencies' actions.
John seems more than willing to give up on the 4th amendment, transparency and accountability. Willing to give Obama, the FBI, the IRS, down to the PA PD the ability to track his every move, along with anyone he comes in contact with, without accountability.
But from John, who has already admitted he will concede *all* his privacy protections afforded by the 4th amendment, to babble on about the protections afforded to all other American citizens, is silly.
And completely un-American.
Why does John dishonor the great Constitution of the United States of America?
Posted by Fred, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm
@Drone - I looked again, and while I saw statements, I didn't see the backup. Can you repost a link or two?
I did my own search, and it looks like various technologies are limited in various ways. A drone parked above your house watching everything that went on might be deemed unreasonable; a drone that responded to activity or simply did fly-overs might be reasonable. The 1986 Ciraolo case (identifying pot plants on private property from airplanes) and others support fly-over surveillance without warrants.
Any new technology is subject to review and potential limitation under the constitution. If that's the point of this thread, I accept it, and leave it at that. If the point is more about whether, given constitutionality, is it good policy, that seems like a more interesting discussion.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm
As intrusive seach and seizure goes, the Internal Revenue Service is, by far, the worst violator (could be nearly extinguished by getting rid of the income tax, and going to a value-added tax). Some little birdy tells me that most of those, who are now getting all buckled in the kness about drones, are big supporters of the income tax.
There is some need for proportion, here. Drones are not a big threat to American civilians, in fact they will prevent us from having to address the real threats...sadly not including the IRS.
Posted by Drone on the range, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Dec 26, 2012 at 3:11 pm
Fred: US vs Jones is about exactly what you are referring to, types of surveillance and duration, specifically a ruling on GPS. Web Link
I don't disagree with your position; I have been having more fun poking the trollishness of a certain poster who hears little birds tell him that drones are God's answer to all our problems, including bank robberies (not a terribly bad problem at present compared to other issues, and drones won't stop them,) the IRS and police unions, etc...
Odd how applying the constitution to questions about drones makes one "buckled in the kness" while tossing the the 4th amendment overboard makes the "little birdy" feel quit superior. Funny that. Almost as funny as how Little Bird wants PA PD to have drones, but buckles a little himself when Obama and the IRS as drone operators are brought into the conversation.
I would rather that accountability and transparency remain at the forefront, the 4th Amendment does just that with the call for probable cause and warrant.
Posted by John, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Mar 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm
There has been a rash of recent strong-armed robberies in Palo Alto. If we had the eye in sky (drones), the perp(s) would probably already be in jail; if he/they knew about the eye in the sky, he/they probably wouldn't have even thought about doing it.
Rand Paul, far as I can tell, was arguing that armed drones should not be used against American citizens on American soil. In general I agree with that premise, but I am not absoulte about it...I could envision a scenario where an armed drone, directed and owned by the FBI, with a warrant, might be a better solution than sending a SWAT team into harm's way.
The larger issue, IMO, is that survelliance drones provide for public safety. Well worth doing drones. We need the big eye in the sky.