Rise of the Drones
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Rise of the Drones
Investigating the future of unmanned aerial vehicles.
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FAA's drone restrictions lead to new lawsuits from universities and business groups

FAA's drone restrictions lead to new lawsuits from universities and business groups | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The FAA is trying to crack down on consumer drones, but it’s on shaky legal ground. Three new lawsuits from business owners, universities and the Academy of Model Aeronautics highlight its tenuous position.

. . . 

n administrative judge has already overturned the FAA’s attempt to fine a photographer $10,000, citing the agency’s lack of legal authority to impose it. The FAA’s June “guidelines” appear to suffer from the same problem — the agency issued them without the backing of a formal rule-making process.

. . . 

Meanwhile, stories about drones — good and bad — continue to be popular news items. This summer, for instance, a drone operator was hailed as a hero for using his drone to help a search and rescue team locate a missing 82-year-old man. Less popular was a tourist who crashed his drone into an iconic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park, and then asked to retrieve it.

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Drone industry predicts explosive economic boost

Drone industry predicts explosive economic boost | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
The impact of drones on privacy and national security remain matters of intense debate, but the economic impact, however, is becoming clearer by the day.

 

Private-sector drones will create more than 70,000 jobs within three years and will pump $82 billion into the U.S. economy by 2025, according to a major new study commissioned by the industry’s leading trade group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International(AUVSI). The study assumes that drones are fully integrated into the national airspace by 2015, in line with the current schedule set by Congress.


But the motivation behind Tuesday’s report runs deeper than just dollars and cents. With more than 20 states considering bills to limit what drones can do — including a two-year moratorium on all government use in Virginia — and at least a half-dozen similar measures being kicked around in Congress, the industry faces an uncertain future.

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Oregon’s drone debate | Legislators introduce bills to restrict their use

Before drones become commonplace in Oregon skies, the state Legislature should take carefully measured steps to protect public privacy and safety from threats posed by both public- and private-sector use of the unmanned aircraft.

 

In Oregon, Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and Rep. John Huffman, R-The Dalles, have introduced separate bills that would, among other things, make it a crime to use drones to fire bullets or missiles or to spy on people. Prozanski recently explained to The (Portland) Oregonian newspaper that he drafted his legislation, Senate Bill 71, in part because “the last thing I think people want to do is look outside their picture window or their bedroom window and see a drone.”

 

Prozanski’s and Huffman’s concerns about the need to regulate the domestic use of drones by public agencies, private companies and, for that matter, private citizens are valid — especially in the absence of anything resembling comprehensive federal regulations.

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Who is allowed to fly a drone? That depends

Who is allowed to fly a drone? That depends | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
A law passed last year by President Barack Obama gave U.S. regulators until September 2015 to cobble together rules to oversee unmanned flight.

 

The FAA estimates that by 2020, there will be 30,000 drones in the skies above the U.S. Current laws do not address the privacy concerns hanging over an industry that has produced some drones the size of commercial jets, and others smaller than a sparrow.

 

“It’s a crazy, daunting task, trying to write sweeping legislation for a new technology,” said Wells Bennett, a visiting fellow in national security at the Brookings Institution who has studied civilian drones. “You need both people who are steeped in cutting-edged technology at the same time as understanding the arcane regulatory regime.”

 

Bennett said many federal and state agencies ranging from the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to NASA are contributing to the FAA’s efforts.

 

A spokeswoman for the FAA, Alison Duquette, said that out of the agency’s total workforce of 49,031, 39 federal employees are currently working on the integration.

 

The application for a Certificate of Authorization (COA) permitting operation of a drone is about 22 pages. Duquette told the Star the information sought in the application “will enable us make an informed decision on whether to approve the COA application.”

 

But who should be allowed to operate a drone?

 

It will depend on the type of aircraft and the purpose, Duquette said. In some cases, such as recreational models, no authorization will be required, she said.

 

“In other cases, the pilots, observers and other personnel may require training and/or certification.”

 

Currently, the FAA allows some law enforcement and government agencies to obtain two-year certificates to operate drones. Corporations aren’t allowed to fly drones at all until the new FAA rules are introduced. Model airplane enthusiasts don’t face such restrictions, as long as they maintain sight of their toys and don’t let them fly higher than 150 metres.

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Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone"

Berkeley, wants to establish a "no drone zone" | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it
From Patch.

Even as the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department considers buying an unmanned aerial vehicle, Berkeley City Council will discuss declaring the city a No Drone Zone.

Arguing that drones are unsafe and pose a threat to civil liberties, Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission is recommending that the city council adopt a resolution this month proclaiming:

"1. Berkeley a No Drone Zone and instructing the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration of a No Drone Zone into an Ordinance for the City of Berkeley wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace.

2. That drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Berkeley over the City of Berkeley, including drones in transit.

3. That exemptions will be made for hobbyists to continue to fly remote controlled model aircraft in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped with any kind of camera or audio surveillance equipment."
ddrrnt's insight:

Via Patch 

Does the county sheriff need a drone?

Also see: 

Calif. Residents Concerned By Drone Use In Law Enforcement

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AUVSI: Unmanned aerial vehicles help law-enforcement agencies save money, catch criminals - Avionics Intelligence

AUVSI: Unmanned aerial vehicles help law-enforcement agencies save money, catch criminals - Avionics Intelligence | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

“The Sheriff’s Office in Mesa County, Colo., operates an unmanned aircraft at the cost of $3.36 per hour, compared to $250 to $600 per hour for a manned aircraft,” AUVSI reveals.


The purchase price of a UAS is also significantly less than a manned aircraft, at a cost roughly the same as a patrol car with standard police gear. In fact, agencies are increasingly opting to purchase a compact unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), or drone, in lieu of a new patrol car. This growing trend is spurring privacy debates, talk of and demand for increased legislation, and new court cases.


The vast majority of UAS currently flying in the U.S. are small models that weigh less than 25 pounds and can fit in the trunk of a car, according to AUVSI officials, who cite a recent poll by Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.


“An overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of using drones to help with search and rescue missions (80%). Two-thirds of the public also support using drones to track down runaway criminals (67%) and control illegal immigration on the nation’s border (64%),” reveals a Monmouth University spokesperson.


September 6, 2012
By Courtney Howard

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High anxiety on the Hill about civilian drone use

High anxiety on the Hill about civilian drone use | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

When it comes to drones, the DHS is MIA, lawmakers said ...


Members of Congress from both parties fear that the Department of Homeland Security hasn’t crafted adequate security protocols for the looming explosion of private, domestic drone use.


Witnesses, including a University of Texas professor (Todd Humphreys) who hijacked a drone last month, told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on oversight, investigations and management that, with the proper equipment and expertise, it’s relatively easy to jam drones’ GPS signals and take control of them.


Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, are currently used only by the military and law enforcement agencies.


But they will be available for commercial and personal use beginning in 2015, and critics say the federal government isn’t considering how dangerous they could be in the wrong hands.


By Ben Wolfgang

19 Jul 2012

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Mayor Bloomberg says surveillance drones are inevitable in NYC: 'get used to it'

Mayor Bloomberg says surveillance drones are inevitable in NYC: 'get used to it' | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Governmental use of unmanned surveillance drones has inspired a lot of concern about privacy, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the battle's already over. In a radio interview this week, Bloomberg said essentially that drones are an inevitable part of our future (and maybe our present), comparing them to the thousands of cameras already located around Manhattan. "What's the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?" he asked. "We're going into a different world, uncharted... you can't keep the tide from coming in."


Striking a tone more of resignation than endorsement, Bloomberg said that our future includes more visibility and less privacy. Face recognition will be integrated into the drone surveillance, and he wondered aloud whether a drone is that much more invasive than someone standing outside your home. Bloomberg did say legislation is necessary, but warned against hasty action, saying "these are long-term, serious problems."

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Drones are on the “wrong side of history”

Drones are on the “wrong side of history” | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Our blind faith in technology combined with a false sense of infallible righteousness continues unabated. Reuters correspondent David Rohde recently wrote:

 

“The Obama administration’s covert drone program is on the wrong side of history. With each strike, Washington presents itself as an opponent of the rule of law, not a supporter. Not surprisingly, a foreign power killing people with no public discussion, or review of who died and why, promotes anger among Pakistanis, Yemenis and many others.”

 

A special report from the Council on Foreign Relations last month, “Reforming U.S. Drone Strike Policies,” quotes “a former senior military official” saying, “Drone strikes are just a signal of arrogance that will boomerang against America.” The report notes that, “The current trajectory of U.S. drone strike policies is unsustainable … without any meaningful checks — imposed by domestic or international political pressure — or sustained oversight from other branches of government, U.S. drone strikes create a moral hazard because of the negligible risks from such strikes and the unprecedented disconnect between American officials and personnel and the actual effects on the ground.”

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Activists launch campaign against ‘autonomous weapons’: Killer robots must be stopped

Activists launch campaign against ‘autonomous weapons’: Killer robots must be stopped | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

A new global campaign to persuade nations to ban “killer robots” before they reach the production stage is to be launched in the UK by a group of academics, pressure groups and Nobel peace prize laureates.

Robot warfare and autonomous weapons, the next step from unmanned drones, are already being worked on by scientists and will be available within the decade, said Dr Noel Sharkey, a leading robotics and artificial intelligence expert and professor at Sheffield University. He believes that development of the weapons is taking place in an effectively unregulated environment, with little attention being paid to moral implications and international law.

 

The Stop the Killer Robots campaign will be launched in April at the House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons.

 

Tracy McVeigh, The Observer

24 Feb 2013

ddrrnt's insight:

Comment via Narrative Designer on Twitter:

 

@ddrrnt well that took a while. DOD has been talking publicly about autonomous war machines since at least 2005. Maybe people will wake up.

 

http://twitter.com/StephenDinehart/status/305857869528580096

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Kev Bauer's curator insight, March 21, 2013 8:17 PM

who's to blame for accidental death? manufacturer, software developer, victim.

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Florida police want to use drones for crowd control

Florida police want to use drones for crowd control | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Police want legislation that would limit their use of drones to include an exception for crowd control.

(...)

Sen. Joe Negron, a Stuart Republican, said the exception would have allowed King George to use drones against the Boston Tea Party if the unmanned aircraft had existed in the 18th century.

 

The Community Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill (SB 92), although several members urged Negron to consider loosening its restrictions.

 

The bill would ban the use of drones for law and code enforcement with three major exceptions, including terrorism.

 

It also would allow drone use authorized by search warrants and in cases of imminent danger, such as a missing child.

ddrrnt's insight:

Looks like decent legislation.  It seems to keep privacy worries out of the equation.  However, "crowd control" needs more clarification because it could apply to such a wide variety of contexts.    I mean, big cities are essentially crowded, most of the time.  So..?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd_control

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Brittany Blake's curator insight, December 22, 2013 6:56 PM

How can drones be used in crowd control?

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Great images but do drones invade privacy

Great images but do drones invade privacy | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

As drone cameras produce ever-more spectacular footage, there are concerns the remote-controlled mini-aircraft might be used to invade people's privacy.


The BBC's Colin Paterson has been taking a look at some of the images - and finding out why there are calls for legislation.


see video at BBC

06 Dec 2012

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Domestic drone backers worry about privacy and security

Domestic drone backers worry about privacy and security | Rise of the Drones | Scoop.it

Within the span of about two weeks in July, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International issued a code of conduct and backed a defense spending bill that would restrict the government’s use of drones for surveillance. Lawmakers who, in February, mandated that the Federal Aviation Administration permit more drones to fly stateside voted in June to ban weaponized ones. (...)


DHS officials declined to appear at Rep. Michael McCaul’s July 19 hearing, which largely focused on the department’s role in protecting citizens from drone abuse. There is bipartisan concern that remotely piloted planes will capture personal information, fall victim to hackers—or worse—when the FAA law takes effect in 2015. (...)


McCaul maintains his concerns about the safety of drones have always existed. “We are less than two and a half years from our skies opening up to widespread use of drones by law enforcement and the private sector and no federal agency has taken the lead to address security and privacy,” he told Government Executive in an email. “This is the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, and as chairman of the subcommittee with oversight jurisdiction it is my job to ensure DHS addresses these concerns. The department needs to provide guidance on security and privacy now, in advance of this proliferation, not after the fact.”


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