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Wary of Mass Surveillance and Privacy Risks, New Group Wants St. Louis "Drone Free"

Categories: Police, Politics

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wikimedia
St. Louis' mayor, police chief, and top prosecutor all want the same thing: drones.

When the topic of drones flying over St. Louis was in the news last summer, they said drones will help fight crime, catch the bad guys, and make surveillance easier. But a new group that opposes the use of drones in St. Louis wants to tell the city's residents that the controversial devices could do more to restrict liberty than increase safety.

Drone Free St. Louis was launched Tuesday to coincide with the internet-based protest "The Day We Fight Back," which is a coordinated response among various internet entities like Reddit and the Electronic Frontier Foundation to protest the NSA's mass surveillance programs. The timing fits because if it wasn't for the revelations of the NSA programs, John Chesnoff, one of the founders of the Drone Free St. Louis campaign, might sound a tad paranoid to the average person.

But in an age where the government can read your email and listen to your phone calls, maybe worrying about drones constantly watching you isn't so crazy.

Daily RFT talked to John Chasnoff, a longtime activist on police accountability issues and one of the founders of Drone Free St. Louis to find out what's so bad about having little remote-control planes flying around in the sky.

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Mayor Slay later said he was referring to FBI drones in this tweet. However, he also acknowledged that drones would likely be used for local law enforcement.

Daily RFT: Seriously, John - what's so bad about these things?

We have a real concern that there is really not a way to effectively regulate police drones. And what we've seen developing over the past several years, especially since 911, is massive surveillance of the domestic population. And we're seeing already street cameras all over the place and now we've seen, through the NSA revelations that have happened, is the government is watching our email and our online activities. So the last thing we need is more surveillance. And we feel that the drones will really be a game-changer in that regard because they're so inexpensive and so technologically sophisticated that they will make it possible to have 24/7 surveillance of the population.

See also: Drones In St. Louis? City Officials Mention Technology As Potential Crime-Fighting Tool

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Boeing
St. Louis' own Boeing makes many drones, including this one named "The Phantom Eye."

Some people might say you sound like you're wearing a tinfoil hat and plan on looking for black helicopters after this interview. What do you say to them?

Click on the next page to read more...



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23 comments
alsmalibu
alsmalibu

yes the gov. has become too powerful. it can kill citizens when ever it wants to in any country it wants , and it can d biological / chemical warfare experiments on anyone , and has done so causing many in north st. Louis to get cancer, this they admitted to back in the nineties..

Michael Mytzlplyk
Michael Mytzlplyk

Here's an idea. How about using the money that would be invested into drones, be used in hiring actual police officers. That way, instead of watching crime happen, they can actually prevent it by presence in the first place ?

Brandon Herges
Brandon Herges

Everybody who thought the government spied on everything everybody does and stored it was really paranoid and a loon, too. One thing I've come to learn about government is "If it sounds too bad to be true, it probably is true."

zenitin
zenitin

"Begun! The Drone Wars Have."
--Yoda

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

This group seems really paranoid. And why they bringing MLK into this? Drones are already here. No one up high in the government food chain will have issue with privacy until it catches them in their underwear bringing the trash out of the house.

Terry Cagle
Terry Cagle

why would anyone think this is a good idea??

Stu Katz
Stu Katz

Maybe the black on black crime rate would go down, if the police had more sets of eyes. The problem of "no one" witnessing a crime just might not be as big an issue.

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

hahahah, i can see these drones being shot down by local gang members. lmfao

Adam Usher
Adam Usher

There already using them in STL. Saw one at the Balloon Glow.

Shawn Smith
Shawn Smith

There's no way law enforcement would use these drones to peek through 2nd floor windows to get a few vicarious thrills, right?

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

since it's against the law to warm our cars up because there is people waiting outside to steel our cars, I say we need to army in the streets to protect us...

Robert A. West
Robert A. West

If it can be shown that they have a real impact on crime, then I'm fine with this. As it is, when you're out in public, there's already always the possibility that someone's watching you and videotaping you on a cell phone. The government is already storing everything I do on my own phone and online. The truth is privacy as it existed 15 years ago and before is simply not a thing anymore, and if anyone thinks it ever will be again, then they are naive in my opinion.

Andrew McKay
Andrew McKay

In high crime areas it may be a good idea

Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson

all I want to know is how high they fly? Is it low enough to shoot at them? Skeet shooting finally comes to the hood.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Like anyone would be looking at the cameras 24/7 to prevent crime. Not to mention the obvious temptation for abuse. I'm pretty sure there are cameras in Antonio French's ward but no police watch them...

Joe Black
Joe Black

As long as we have the right to hunt them like other fowl.

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