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Robinski

Enemy UAV is Online!

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Robinski

So, the Guardian ran an article a few days ago about the use of UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles) by the British Government. The interesting thing is though, this isn't about Iraq or Afghanistan, but in the UK.

 

There are plans to introduce these drones as a replacement/supplement for the existing fleet of UK Police Helicopters. Their main role will be the "routine monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance." But what I feel is the real question here is whether they'll actually be used in the same instances as the choppers, or more of an ever present CCTV of the skies?

 

These drones can fly for much longer than the helicopters (they can fly for up to 15 hours) and are much more subtle and almost invisible, being able to fly quietly are 20,000 feet. You're not gonna slow down from 10mph over the limit 'cos you hear or see a drone coming.

 

Here's the article from the Guardian about the possible implementation:

 

Police in the UK are planning to use unmanned spy drones, controversially deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­"routine" monitoring of antisocial motorists, ­protesters, agricultural thieves and fly-tippers, in a significant expansion of covert state surveillance.

 

The arms manufacturer BAE Systems, which produces a range of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for war zones, is adapting the military-style planes for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police.

 

Documents from the South Coast Partnership, a Home Office-backed project in which Kent police and others are developing a national drone plan with BAE, have been obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

They reveal the partnership intends to begin using the drones in time for the 2012 Olympics. They also indicate that police claims that the technology will be used for maritime surveillance fall well short of their intended use – which could span a range of police activity – and that officers have talked about selling the surveillance data to private companies. A prototype drone equipped with high-powered cameras and sensors is set to take to the skies for test flights later this year.

 

The Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates UK airspace, has been told by BAE and Kent police that civilian UAVs would "greatly extend" the government's surveillance capacity and "revolutionise policing". The CAA is currently reluctant to license UAVs in normal airspace because of the risk of collisions with other aircraft, but adequate "sense and avoid" systems for drones are only a few years away.

 

Five other police forces have signed up to the scheme, which is considered a pilot preceding the countrywide adoption of the technology for "surveillance, monitoring and evidence gathering". The partnership's stated mission is to introduce drones "into the routine work of the police, border authorities and other government agencies" across the UK.

 

Concerned about the slow pace of progress of licensing issues, Kent police's assistant chief constable, Allyn Thomas, wrote to the CAA last March arguing that military drones would be useful "in the policing of major events, whether they be protests or the ­Olympics". He said interest in their use in the UK had "developed after the terrorist attack in Mumbai".

 

Stressing that he was not seeking to interfere with the regulatory process, Thomas pointed out that there was "rather more urgency in the work since Mumbai and we have a clear deadline of the 2012 Olympics".

 

BAE drones are programmed to take off and land on their own, stay airborne for up to 15 hours and reach heights of 20,000ft, making them invisible from the ground.

 

Far more sophisticated than the remote-controlled rotor-blade robots that hover 50-metres above the ground – which police already use – BAE UAVs are programmed to undertake specific operations. They can, for example, deviate from a routine flightpath after encountering suspicious ­activity on the ground, or undertake numerous reconnaissance tasks simultaneously.

 

The surveillance data is fed back to control rooms via monitoring equipment such as high-definition cameras, radar devices and infrared sensors.

 

Previously, Kent police has said the drone scheme was intended for use over the English Channel to monitor shipping and detect immigrants crossing from France. However, the documents suggest the maritime focus was, at least in part, a public relations strategy designed to minimise civil liberty concerns.

 

"There is potential for these [maritime] uses to be projected as a 'good news' story to the public rather than more 'big brother'," a minute from the one of the earliest meetings, in July 2007, states.

 

Behind closed doors, the scope for UAVs has expanded significantly. Working with various policing organisations as well as the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Maritime and Fisheries Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency, BAE and Kent police have drawn up wider lists of potential uses.

 

One document lists "[detecting] theft from cash machines, preventing theft of tractors and monitoring antisocial driving" as future tasks for police drones, while another states the aircraft could be used for road and railway monitoring, search and rescue, event security and covert urban surveillance.

 

Under a section entitled "Other routine tasks (Local Councils) – surveillance", another document states the drones could be used to combat "fly-posting, fly-tipping, abandoned vehicles, abnormal loads, waste management".

 

Senior officers have conceded there will be "large capital costs" involved in buying the drones, but argue this will be shared by various government agencies. They also say unmanned aircraft are no more intrusive than CCTV cameras and far cheaper to run than helicopters.

 

Partnership officials have said the UAVs could raise revenue from private companies. At one strategy meeting it was proposed the aircraft could undertake commercial work during spare time to offset some of the running costs.

 

There are two models of BAE drone under consideration, neither of which has been licensed to fly in non-segregated airspace by the CAA. The Herti (High Endurance Rapid Technology Insertion) is a five-metre long aircraft that the Ministry of Defence deployed in Afghanistan for tests in 2007 and 2009.

 

CAA officials are sceptical that any Herti-type drone manufacturer can develop the technology to make them airworthy for the UK before 2015 at the earliest. However the South Coast Partnership has set its sights on another BAE prototype drone, the GA22 airship, developed by Lindstrand Technologies which would be subject to different regulations. BAE and Kent police believe the 22-metre long airship could be certified for civilian use by 2012.

 

Military drones have been used extensively by the US to assist reconnaissance and airstrikes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 

But their use in war zones has been blamed for high civilian death tolls.

 

I'm not sure where I stand on this but I am certainly concerned. I don't feel like being under yet more surveillance, especially in the most watched country in the world where it's estimated there is a CCTV camera for every 14 people. The authorities will literally have eyes in the sky meaning you could be recorded doing anything anytime you are outside.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the reduction/ prevention of crime, and CCTV definitely has a role in this, but should we really be watched from an invisible, military grade drone, potentially recording us at any time? I suppose to me it's really about how they're used; if they're simply filling in for helicopters then I'm all for it, but it's the uses beyond this that I'm a bit more wary of. But I guess we'll have to actually implement and use them to find how if they can be used in an acceptable manner.

 

But I've got nothing to hide I guess. Have you? monocle.gif

 

EDIT: Although I've said about how this could be really intrusive yadda yadda yadda, I can't help but find it ever so awesome. I mean it's a f*cking UAV!

Edited by Robinski

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nlitement

Well, the government has already gone so far that it's satirizing itself:

 

 

user posted image

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shaboobala

Let's not forget this gem:

 

user posted image

 

Disarmament. Cameras being placed in some people's homes. Cameras everywhere else. And now pre-emptive robotic monitor drones. I suppose the drones are conceptually the same thing as the choppers, just more efficient and varied in their tasks. All the more comforting.

 

What is going on over there guys? I haven't read anything good about jolly old England in a while. Where has all the charm and whimsy gone?

 

Orwell's re-animated corpse is due burst out of his grave and set things back to normal any day now...

 

 

 

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General Goose

Gah. They'll probably find a way to abuse this. Still...it IS a UAV....where's my Counter-UAV?

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Vercetti21
Gah. They'll probably find a way to abuse this. Still...it IS a UAV....where's my Counter-UAV?

Moon the sky. Really though, doesn't sound like it's up to the people.

 

Sounds like an expensive and unnecessary move to me. Surveillance is one thing, but seeing the government go completely out of its way to do it is another.

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Spaghetti Cat

 

Some military drones are “particularly susceptible” to having their video tapped, a senior military officer tells Danger Room. That’s because these smaller unmanned aircraft — like the Shadow, Hunter, and Raven — broadcast their surveillance footage constantly and in every direction. All you have to do, basically, is stand within “line of sight” of the drone, and you can tap in. “It’s like criminals using radio scanners to pick up police communications,” the senior officer says.

 

LINK

 

rolleyes.gif

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860

In my opinnnion freedom is obeying the law because you choose to, not because you are forced to.

 

But yeah UAVs are f*cking awesome.

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major underscore

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the reduction/ prevention of crime, and CCTV definitely has a role in this, but should we really be watched from an invisible, military grade drone, potentially recording us at any time? I suppose to me it's really about how they're used; if they're simply filling in for helicopters then I'm all for it, but it's the uses beyond this that I'm a bit more wary of. But I guess we'll have to actually implement and use them to find how if they can be used in an acceptable manner.

 

But I've got nothing to hide I guess. Have you? monocle.gif

There is nothing to worry about.

 

Who knows, maybe in the future they'll even be able to broadcast radio. Imagine, you wouldn't even have to own a radio receiver to be able to listen to it anywhere!

 

 

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shaboobala

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the reduction/ prevention of crime, and CCTV definitely has a role in this, but should we really be watched from an invisible, military grade drone, potentially recording us at any time? I suppose to me it's really about how they're used; if they're simply filling in for helicopters then I'm all for it, but it's the uses beyond this that I'm a bit more wary of. But I guess we'll have to actually implement and use them to find how if they can be used in an acceptable manner.

 

But I've got nothing to hide I guess. Have you? monocle.gif

 

What is the difference between a drone and a camera? Only that one works better. Monitoring without consent is monitoring without consent. Private businesses using cctv and signs warning of cameras is another matter, but the public domain is not wal-mart. In this case there is no such thing as reasonable means(or use) on a collective or objective scale because "reasonability" becomes subjective. The police should not have absolute powers over the people. And yet, in this case they will.

 

One man's drone is another man's guardian. The real question is- how much fear do you have? And: Are you more afraid of what you know about(other people), or what you don't know about(the gubernment)?

 

ph34r.gif

 

 

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