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Calif. Sheriff's Drone Nixed After Privacy Uproar

December 06, 2012  | 

Outcry from privacy advocates prompted county supervisors to postpone or possibly scrap plans to purchase a surveillance drone for the Alameda County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office.

Last minute intervention Tuesday morning by the American Civil Liberties Union prompted supervisors to require explicit authorization to use grant money the Sheriff's Office received to purchase the drone. Now the proposal will have to go to the public protection committee for approval then back to the full board of supervisors. That is likely to happen early next year.

Concern has been mounting among privacy groups for months that Sheriff Greg Ahern was forging ahead without rules for deploying a drone in the skies above Alameda County.

The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation are concerned about the lack of privacy protections. They were dismayed to find that the Sheriff's Office was asking the supervisors on Tuesday to approve a $31,646 grant to help pay for a drone, indicating that the department was far closer to acquisition than they had led the public to believe.

Read the full Oakland Tribune story.

Comments (6)

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6

Lee @ 12/6/2012 4:34 PM

Privacy uproar?! LA uses one. No issues...If there are privacy concerns, then a lot of people have things to hide. These drones help a lot. from aiding in criminal aprehension, to being around to capture things on photo and video when there are no officers within a decent response. Not to mention criminal grow houses that give off way way to much heat etc.

RICHARD ISAACS @ 12/6/2012 4:50 PM


TripWire @ 12/6/2012 6:26 PM

I can understand the concern. However, maybe if the department addressed this with a use policy and communicated that then there wouldn't be as much of a backlash. I wouldn't want one flying indiscriminately over my backyard either. I'm not saying that the department would be but I would be communicating that to the county's citizens. Just a thought.

Random @ 12/7/2012 5:15 AM

"Criminal Grow houses" Most green houses are not criminal. I own one. They let the grower eat traditional native food that is not sold in commercial store grocery Store. Growing your own food won’t be criminal until Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (2010) becomes active on December 31 2012.

Capt. Crunch @ 12/7/2012 5:37 PM

The only outcry here is from the criminals.

Robert @ 12/12/2012 6:59 AM

Question; Since when does these two idiot organizations, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation tell Law Enforcement what they can and can not use, purchase and use.
Last time that I looked, this was still the United States of America.

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