New York: The Police Department has given itself the gift of a new surveillance tool. The NYPD, with a history of illegal spying, will be armed with 14 new aerial drones.
The New York Civil Liberties Union is deeply concerned about the plan. “The NYPD’s drones are outfitted with cameras equipped with sophisticated technology and 4K resolution. The mere presence of these police cameras can create a chilling effect on people exercising their rights to free speech, protest, and other lawful activities.” From the bedroom window to the busy street, these devices will be able to capture anything the officers want to see.
The NYCLU said, “Given how easy drones make surveillance and the NYPD’s troubling history of unlawful spying, it’s critical that the policies that govern their use put strict limits on when and where they can be deployed.”
The NYCLU is concerned that the drones will one day use facial recognition technology on the deployed drones. In the plan, “the department did end up including a prohibition on using face surveillance on drone footage. But the final policy includes a loophole for this ban in the case of a “public safety concern.” Once again, this term is undefined and could potentially create an exception so big it swallows the rule.”
This is a disturbing development, not just for the obvious privacy eroding dangers, but all of the subtle ways it will oppress and influence people in their everyday lives. How will we act differently, or how will our behaviors or thoughts change when these are always buzzing overhead?
Photo: “thierry Ehrmann : La guerre des drônes a commencé DDC_8810sep” by thierry ehrmann is licensed under CC BY 2.0