GUEST COMMENTARY-Last week, the LAPD became the largest police department in the country to acquire surveillance drones - though their PR-savvy announcement carefully replaced the term with "unmanned aerial vehicles" - when they accepted as gifts two Draganflyer X6 drones rejected by Seattle residents who had cited privacy concerns, "the militarization of our streets and now the air above them," and the fact "we dont trust you with the weapons you do have."
The LA Sheriff’s Department, was recently blasted for a surveillance dragnet over a couple of towns without telling alarmed residents, said the drones, err, aerial vehicles, will only be used for "narrow and prescribed uses that will be made clear to the public" at hearings later this summer - that is, long after they've acquired the equipment in the first place without telling anyone about it, but still, what could go wrong?
"We wanted to be really up-front with the public that we're looking at using these down the road ...We wanted to make sure it didn't look like we were trying to sneak these things into action."
(Abby Zimet writes the Further column for CommonDreams.org … where this commentary was first posted.)
Vol 12 Issue 47
Pub: June 10, 2014