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US drone surveillance program violates citizens civil liberties

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The United States domestic drone surveillance program has been sharply condemned by experts who say that Washington violates American civil liberties, Press TV reports.

“This kind of policy for unlimited surveillance…I think this is a dangerous precedent,” said Mounzer Sleiman, a US national security affairs analyst, adding that Americans “assume that this country is free and we have a constitution and we preserve the rights of every individual.”

His comments came as the US Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that it has issued some 1,428 permits for domestic drone operators since 2007 and that another 10,000 permits could be issued over the next five years.

The US Department of Homeland Security also confirmed that it had received a massive response from potential drone-building vendors, and was moving toward more tests of the technology for “public safety applications”.

Experts criticized Washington for its aggressive pursuit of a domestic drone program, saying it violates privacy rights, while drawing on similarities with the foreign drone policy used in warzones in the Middle East.

“We criticize al-Qaeda for being lawless but we’re modeling the behavior of the very terrorists that we criticize. We need to model the behavior that we want all people to live,” said Toby Blome, anti-drone activist and a member of Code Pink.

The use of assassination drones overseas under the administration of US President Barack Obama has caused national and international debates.

“We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people,” said Princeton professor Cornel West, calling him a “war criminal” over Washington’s killer drone program.

“I can’t see a greater collapse when the executive can kill its own citizens arbitrarily, at will, in secret, without any of the decision-making becoming public,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, adding that the deadly campaigns denote the “collapse” of the system in the US.

The US has used its assassination and surveillance drones in several countries including Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia.

The remote-controlled aircraft vary in size and form with some being as small as model airplanes and others as large as military Predators.

The United Nations says the airstrikes are targeted killings that flout international law.


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2 Responses to " US drone surveillance program violates citizens civil liberties "

  1. Zharkov says:

    It’s doubtful whether the US government should have domestic drones watching Americans despite the legal precedent of “The Plain View Doctrine”, which says that officers may see whatever is in “plain view” without needing a search warrant.

    The doctrine originally applied to vehicle stops for traffic violations. Courts held that anything in plain view of the public does not require a warrant for officers to see.

    Whether that doctrine applies to air views of private property is part of the problem that the courts have not yet decided.

    One argument is that people fence their property to obtain privacy, and no government official should be allowed to view anything inside that fence without a warrant. The land owner also owns the airspace above his land, so that drone intrusion would be a trespass of his air space. And of course, stalking is prohibited by law.

    Legally, it is obvious that the government has no right to intrude on the privacy of land owners without probable cause and a search warrant.

    And probable cause must relate specifically to each land owner below the drone camera, not some third party whose actions may or may not justify a search warrant. So the real question is whether the government shall obey the law, or not, and if they fly drones over private property without a warrant, then they have violated the law.

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  2. AlyoshaVolkova says:

    As of right now I had 24 UAV’s / drones fly over river valley northern approach to fort smith air base. They all fly with no running lights and I can hear the same feedback in my scanner.

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