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Will Armed Drones be Policing American Cities?
Annalee Newitz   May 29, 2012  

Could the next wave of Occupy protests be ripped apart by rubber bullets and tear gas launched by remote-controlled robots hovering overhead, steered by police officers miles away? It’s not a futurist scenario anymore. According to CBSDC:

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S. They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras. Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.



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Image: courtesy of CBSDC

Annalee Newitz is an American journalist who covers the cultural impact of science and technology. She is the editor-in-chief of io9, which named in 2010 as one of the top 30 science blogs by The Times. Her work has been published in Popular Science, Wired,, New Scientist, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and AlterNet, and she is a regular lecturer at colleges and conferences.


Yes. Congress has allocated an allowance for it via the H.R. 658: FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

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The mayor of the city closest to where I live, Lancaster, CA., is very polarizing. He is a tough on crime kinda guy and a lawyer who is able to find loopholes in the law to allow himself to just make things happen without the people of his city knowing about it or having a voice against it.

He has brought a lot of new businesses into the city and it looks and feels much nicer, and his supporters point that out.

But in his quest to “turn Lancaster into a safe place for good Christian people to live” he has turned the place into a police state.

His latest move is to use taxpayer money to fund a spy plane. Yes, a SPY PLANE to use against the citizens of a city in the United States! It is an unmanned drone, I believe. He was very quick to tell everyone that it was not going to look in backyards. But he admitted that it has cameras in both visible and UV spectrums that are pointing down. Anyone who is suspected of criminal activity will be surveilled at home or through his/her daily activities.

“Criminal activity” in Lancaster consists of…

A motorcycle club that rented a hotel for a convention a year before the mayor took office. He was in by the time the meeting came to pass, and he found a way to shut down the hotel so that the “gang” couldn’t come. It was reopened as a private University owned by… The mayor.

The Southern California Steampunk Society came to the Antelope Valley Fair in Lancaster. They were denied entrance and threatened with arrest because they were in “gang attire.” Yep, 40 year olds in tophats and waistcoats are a gang now.

Street performances. Any street performances. This is a vague one. Nominally, it is to stop panhandling, but I can see police grabbing someone for walking down the street whistling or humming or singing a song. Actually, I’ve seen it happen. A guy wearing a “do-rag” which is redflagged as potential gang behavior/attire had his headphones in and was rapping along as he walked along. To himself. Not loudly. They got him.

The spy plane is here to “keep us safe.” But I can’t help but wonder what “crimes” it is looking to stop.

By the way, this “safe place” has seen violent crimes rise nearly 25% since the mayor took office. People are rebelling against the regime. But he has found a way to extend his term length and limits. He’s here to stay.

Hack the drones.

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Drones will be used and will become a popular target for the armaments of citizens so disposed

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