Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thursday Night: Let's Talk About SPD's Flying, Photographing Drones

Posted by on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 8:58 AM

When you think of drones, you probably think of the RC airplanes that kill people in faraway lands.

Fortunately, killer drones aren't included the Seattle Police Department's plan to use the unmanned aerial aircraft for police work. SPD says they'll use the two drones to monitor crime scenes and track missing persons, but some Seattle residents and the ACLU of Washington are concerned about drones compromising peoples' privacy (e.g., the identities of domestic violence victims being captured on tape and then subject to public disclosure requests).

So, to dispel misconceptions about their drone program, SPD brass are hosting a Q&A this Thursday, October 25th at Garfield Community Center from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

There, you'll have the opportunity to ask the SPD questions about its plans to police from the city's skies, and Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh will be on hand to alleviate (or further aggravate) your concerns about the department's drone program.


Comments (12) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Because a large amount of domestic violence cases occur on top of roofs? I don't get it.
Posted by Hutch on October 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I can't wait for one of these things to smash into my roof so I can sue the city and win millions. I'll even take a direct hit on the head, since you can't hurt me there (but they don't know that). Millions, I tell you.
Posted by Fnarf on October 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM · Report this
This is serious shit. SPD will use these things for surveillance now -- then weaponize them. What's to stop SPD from equipping drones with stun grenades or tear gas? Watch for them hovering over the next peaceful protest against US military aggression. It's time to howl baby and rage against the unmanned aerial vehicles.
Posted by abbiehoffman on October 23, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
Three Drones for the SPD born to spy.

@3 ftw. Slingshots and bb guns work amazingly well.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM · Report this
Not a huge fan of FOX news, but one of their commentators had it right: the first person to shoot down a drone hovering over their house will be a folk hero in this country.
Posted by doceb on October 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 7
From your lips to God's ears, @6.

Lock and load.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 23, 2012 at 1:30 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 8
@6 Yes, my first thought on seeing this post was "10-guage magnum."

Little fucker would have to be pretty low, though. Will is on crack. Even a big shotgun won't have a good chance of bringing one down from more than 50 yards. A slingshot might work if it's 10 feet outside your window.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on October 23, 2012 at 1:46 PM · Report this
Fnarf 9
@8, ahem. Not to mention the wisdom of discharging firearms straight up into the air. With any luck, that round will pierce your skull on its way down again. Even barring that, it's against the law to discharge a firearm, and after you fail to hit your target they will have all the video evidence from the drone to send you to Guantanamo. In fact, it would be fun to send these low over houses specifically for the purpose of drawing out gun nuts and locking them up afterwards.
Posted by Fnarf on October 23, 2012 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 10
To their credit, the city did work out a financially sound contract to purchase the terminat--, ah, I mean drones from Cyberdyne Systems.
Posted by Ipso Facto on October 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM · Report this
@10 Can you provide a reference? The previous purchases was made with Department of Homeland Security money.

EFF and MuckRock have filed hundreds of related public records requests nationwide. They provided some informative analysis of the results from here in Seattle (see "Seattle police seek more drones while two sit unused; SPD rescinds drone usage guidelines without replacing them".

Yesterday, Trevor Timm at EFF wrote:

The documents we received from Seattle Police Department are perhaps the most troubling so far. Earlier this year, we reported how the Seattle City Council found out about the Seattle Police Department’s two drones only after Seattle’s name showed up on the FAA list released as part of EFF’s Freedom of Information …. When the police department went before the city council to apologize, they also pledged to work with the local ACLU affiliate to draw up privacy guidelines.

As MuckRock described, in July, Seattle Police Department issued departmental drone guidelines which, “limited UAS use to specific circumstances, underscoring that drones were not to be used ‘to provide random surveillance.’” But less than a month later, the policy was inexplicably eliminated: “A directive dated August 15, 2012 rescinded the drone deployment guidelines, without indicating any replacement guidelines or explaining the reasoning behind the move.”

While the department has rescinded the limitations, they also plan to expand their drone program and purchase two new units, despite the fact that the two drones they’ve already purchased sit unused. Given that the documents also suggest that “the FAA will significantly expand the area where [SPD] can operate [drones] in 2012” it is imperative that the City Council holds the police department to implementing binding privacy guidelines to protect its citizens.

Posted by Phil M on October 23, 2012 at 7:22 PM · Report this
Ipso Facto 13
@11: Good info, thanks.

My comment was a joke, though: Cyberdyne Systems is the name of the weapons technology manufacturer that unleashes the Terminator in the movie series. (Get it?)
Posted by Ipso Facto on October 25, 2012 at 2:39 AM · Report this

Add a comment

Commenting on this item is available only to registered commenters.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy