News and Views

USA: Drones Now Being Used To Illegally Spy On The Black Community

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For years, drone advocates and the military said that drone technology would never been used against American civilizations in the mainland. That is proving to be a false claim, as drones are now being operated in major cities as a means to spy on certain communities. What’s worse is that there are no warrants being used, no legal due process. Real people are having their rights violated as they are spied on from afar by law enforcement. And if drone advocates have their way, drone programs will expand to every city in the United States.

In 2012, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department used a civilian drone to fly over Compton, California and record everything that happened within an African American community. The drones systems used were owned by Ross McNutt, a retired Air Force veteran. “We literally watched all of Compton during the time that we were flying, so we could zoom in anywhere within the city of Compton and follow cars and see people,” McNutt said. “Our goal was to basically jump to where reported crimes occurred and see what information we could generate that would help investigators solve the crimes.”

Recording someone without their consent is a crime in California, but apparently not if done by law enforcement. “The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public. A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Sgt. Douglas Iketani said.

Some surveillance industry experts even believe that local law enforcement will create databases with facial recognition software, perhaps even collaborating with the FBI and the NSA. It is particularly damaging that these drones are being tested and used in black communities, and it is likely that their use will be primarily in low income neighborhoods. The disadvantaged already have to deal with drugs in the community, poor schools, and low sources of food. Now they’ll also have to deal with being constantly watched by their local governments.


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