Critics call NYPD's drone deployment 'a serious threat to privacy'


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Buzz buzz.Buzz buzz.

Picture: John M Lund Images Inc / getty

Drones are coming to New York Metropolis, and that ought to fear you. 

So argues the New York Civil Liberties Union, which in a Dec. 7 statement blasts the forthcoming NYPD deployment of the flying surveillance bots as "a critical menace to privateness." The 14 police drones, which the New York Times reports had been acquired by metropolis police in June, are ostensibly for use for duties like maintaining a tally of giant crowds or hostage conditions. Nevertheless, critics see the deployment as the beginning of a really slippery, privacy-eroding slope. 

In any case, giant crowds of individuals typically collect collectively to lawfully protest one thing like, say, police brutality. Or, because the NYPD particularly notes as a drone-appropriate instance (in accordance with the NYCLU), the Women's March

"The NYPD’s drones are outfitted with cameras outfitted with refined know-how and 4K decision," notes the NYCLU. "The mere presence of those police cameras can create a chilling impact on individuals exercising their rights to free speech, protest, and different lawful actions."

Notably, the NYPD insists that the coverage governing using its drones prohibits it from equipping the units with facial recognition tech. Nevertheless, because the NYCLU appropriately factors out, the carved out exception that permits police to make use of facial recognition tech on drone footage within the poorly outlined case of a “public security concern” is simply begging to be abused.  

A M210 RTK drone.

A M210 RTK drone.


"Certainly one of our largest fears is that these units might be used to spy on protesters legally exercising their constitutional rights," notes the NYCLU. "The NYPD’s coverage does little to quell our considerations."

And it isn't just like the NYPD has an unblemished record on the subject of surveilling these its members swore to guard and serve. 

In line with the New York Occasions, the drones are a mixture of Mavic Pro quadcopters, M210 RTK quadcopters, and a DJI Encourage quadcopter. And, if the NYCLU is true, you could quickly have to get used to those issues following you and your fellow residents round. 

"[The] NYPD’s drone coverage locations no significant restrictions on police deployment of drones in New York Metropolis," notes the group, including "and opens the door to the police division constructing a everlasting archive of drone footage of political exercise and intimate personal conduct seen solely from the sky."

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