NYC Police Plan to Use Drones to Surveil Labor Day Parties This Weekend

Civil liberties teams consider police use of surveillance drones is “poised to blow up.”

The New York Metropolis Police Division (NYPD) is planning to make use of surveillance drones to patrol massive gatherings, together with non-public events and barbecues, this Labor Day weekend.

“If a caller states there’s a big crowd, a big social gathering in a yard, we’re going to be using our property to go up and go examine on the social gathering,” Kaz Daughtry, the assistant NYPD Commissioner, said at a press conference.

Civil liberties teams and privateness advocates have stated that such drone use could violate present legal guidelines that regulate police surveillance within the metropolis. One such legislation is the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology (POST) Act, which requires that the NYPD disclose its surveillance techniques not less than 90 days previous to implementation.

“It’s a troubling announcement and it flies within the face of the POST Act,” Daniel Schwarz, a privateness and know-how strategist on the New York Civil Liberties Union, informed the Associated Press. “Deploying drones on this approach is a sci-fi impressed state of affairs.”

When the NYPD first introduced its drone program, the division vowed that it wouldn’t use the know-how for “warrantless surveillance” — however the division’s resolution to make use of drones to surveil non-public events appears to fly within the face of this promise. New York Metropolis’s mayor, Eric Adams (D), has stated that he desires to see the NYPD enhance its use of drones, and has cited Israel’s use of the know-how as a blueprint for the city, even though Israel’s police drone program has been roundly condemned by human rights organizations.

“Clearly, flying a drone over a yard barbecue is a step too far for a lot of New Yorkers,” Cahn told the Associated Press.

The NYPD has used drones in a restricted capability for years, deploying unmanned plane methods for search and rescue missions, to doc crime scenes, and to watch massive public occasions, like New Year’s Eve in Times Square. The division has dispatched drones for what it says are public security and emergency functions 124 times this year. Final yr, police drones had been used only four times.

“One of many greatest issues with the push to roll out new types of aerial surveillance is how few protections now we have in opposition to seeing these cameras geared toward our backyards and even our bedrooms,” Albert Fox Cahn, govt director of the Surveillance Expertise Oversight Mission (STOP), told the Associated Press.

Round 1,400 police departments throughout the nation at the moment use drones in some capability, in accordance with a recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The report anticipates that drone use by police departments is “poised to blow up.”

“American police departments have begun making the case that they need to be permitted to fly drones broadly throughout cities and cities for functions reminiscent of responding to emergencies, however they’re already getting used much more broadly than many notice, and their use is more likely to broaden much more,” the ACLU report states. “We suggest that communities put in place statutory guardrails to make sure that drone use doesn’t overspill affordable limits.”

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