• Critics say drones make little contribution to border security

    A new report says that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) drones are a wasteful giveaway to defense contractors and a threat to civil liberties. The report cites CBP own figures, the contribution drones make to border security is minimal. According to CBP calculations, drones have played a role in only 0.003 percent in drug seizure and 0.001 percent in illegal border crossing apprehensions.

  • DHS-funded police gear blurs line between crime-fighting and war-fighting

    DHS is funding the purchase of military gear by Bay Area police departments. Critics of the program say the money allocated for the war on terror is blurring the line between local law enforcement focusing on crime fighting and soldiers fighting in an enemy war zone.

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  • California city could become first in the state to ban drones

    The City Council in Rancho Mirage, California was set  to vote yesterday on a proposal which would ban the use of drones in residential areas in the city. If it passes, it will be the first law of its kind in the state. The ordinance would ban the flying of “unmanned aircraft that can fly under the control of a remote pilot or by a geographic positions system (GPS) guided autopilot mechanism” up to 400 feet above areas that have been zoned residential.

  • British public divided on merits of drone strikes

    Fifty-five percent of the British public would support the U.K. government assisting in a drone missile strike to kill a known terrorist overseas, but support drops substantially if innocent casualties are likely, according to a new study.

  • FAA gives Arlington, Texas police permission to use UAVs

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the Arlington (Texas) Police Department  permission to use two small helicopter UAVs. The FAA did lay out a set of rules for the police department to follow when using the drones.

  • Obama wants U.S. to influence debate over global drone rules

    President Barack Obama wants the United States to help formulate  global guidelines for the use of drones, especially as other countries, led by China, have begun to invest in their own drone fleets.

  • Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs

    About 98 percent of the world’s land area lies within 900 nautical miles of ocean coastlines. Enabling small ships to launch and retrieve long-endurance UAVs on demand would greatly expand the U.S. military’s situational awareness and ability quickly and flexibly to engage in hotspots over land or water. DARPA is seeking companies to develop these systems.

  • Ohio country authorized to use drones to look for missing persons

    The Medina County, Ohio, Sheriff’s Office has recently been authorized to fly drones on police missions. Tom Miller, the county’s new sheriff, said the drones will be used specifically for looking for missing people or suspect who may be hiding in the woods.

  • Seattle mayor says no to drones

    Seattle mayor Mike McGinn has shut down the Seattle Police Department’s drone program before it started. McGinn said the police need to stay focused on “community building.” The announcement came just one day after the city held a public hearing to discuss restrictions to be imposed on drone use by the police departments. Many citizens voiced their concerns about possible violations of privacy.

  • Florida restricts the use of drones by law enforcement agencies

    States continue to restrict the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. Florida police agencies wanted state lawmakers to make a special exception in a bill which bans the use of UAVs by law enforcement, so that drones could be used for crowd control. The bill, however, won the approval of the Senate Community Affairs Committee without the exception.

  • More states consider laws to limit the use of drones by police

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) appears ready to allow the use of drones in the United States, by both law enforcement agencies and private citizens, almost with no restrictions. Experts predict that by the end of the decade, there will be about 30,000 drones flying over the United States. Legislators in at least eleven states want to impose limits on the use of UAVs as worries grow that the unregulated use of drones would erode the liberties of Americans.

  • U.S. to build drone base in Niger

    With the war in Mali raging, the U.S. Africa Command is now establishing a drone base in northwest Africa in order to bolster U.S. surveillance – and operational — capabilities against Islamist groups in the region. Initially, the drones flying from the base will conduct unarmed surveillance missions, but there is little doubt that if targets present themselves, these drones will be equipped with missiles and go on hunting-killing missions.

  • Nebraska lawmakers look to limit police drone use

    The Federal Aviation Administration says there will be around 30,000 commercial and government drones  flying over the United States in the next ten years. The business of selling and servicing domestic drones is projected to grow into a $90 billion industry. Lawmakers at the federal and state level say that to prevent these drone from encroaching on citizens’ privacy, it is time to define what they can do, where, and when.

  • Aerial platform helps in developing lightweight sensors for UAVs

    A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is developing an airborne testing capability for sensors, communications devices, and other airborne payloads. This aerial test bed, called the GTRI Airborne Unmanned Sensor System (GAUSS), is based on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) made by Griffon Aerospace and modified by GTRI.

  • Seattle debates use of drones by police

    The debate between law enforcement and privacy advocates over the use of UAVs is now taking place in Seattle; since President Obama signed a bill in February pushing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to allow the use of civilian drones in America by 2015, many law enforcement agencies have been preparing to use drones