State University of New York Institute of Technology
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California Police Agency Wants To Use Drone Aircraft To Enhance The Eye Of The Law (http://www.globalethics.org/newsline/2012/10/22/california-drone/)

"San Francisco Public Radio station KQED reports that the Alameda County, California, sheriff’s office is asking for permission to employ a camera-equipped drone to fly overhead and monitor criminal activity. An ACLU representative told KQED that she is worried about the stockpiling of digital information about the comings and goings of people on the ground. But a departmental public information officer argues that the drone will serve the greater good. “I look at that police officer in Vallejo that was murdered when he was jumping over a fence chasing somebody,” Nelson told KQED, referring to an incident last year in which an officer died pursuing a suspect following a bank robbery. “That would have been a perfect example to send that thing up to look for the person and find them that way, and that officer would be alive today.”"

 

In my opinion this could be a good idea, in the sense to aid officers in pursuits. Obviously the drone's should be un-armed and used specifically to track the criminal in pursuit like the officer stated. I do not think it would be ethical to have them flying around on a regular basis "watching" people, but then again it wouldnt be much different then video cameras.

Other questions arise on this topic: While manuvering the drone(s), for example in a city area, how close would it need to be to the ground to effectivly track a person? And would this freak the public out to see a drone flying over their head? Also, as the ACLU rep stated, would this be a violation of peoples privacy? Or would people feel safer?

If this is approved I am highly interested to see how the public feels about it and if it really is effective for the police department.


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