ACLU Tracks Drone legislation
In a report dated 8-31-13, the ACLU announced that they have tracked legislation which has been introduced and/or enacted in the United States. Legislation has been proposed in 42 states, and enacted in 8 states. Those eight states are Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Read the report here. And see this also.
ACLU Drone Blog
View the American Civil Liberties Union Blog for current news and perspectives on the American use of drones. Click here.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Research the issue of drones on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Especially look at "Are Drones Watching You?"
US scientists working on mind-controlled drones for military use, RT (September 3, 2014)
University researchers in Texas say they are designing a new type of drone – one that could be controlled simply and only with a soldier’s mind.
US expands drone operations in Africa, Craig Whitlock, Washington Post (September 3, 2014)
Niger: Surveillance hub will be used for counterterrorism
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is preparing to open a drone base in one of the remotest places on Earth: an ancient caravan crossroads in the middle of the Sahara.
After months of negotiations, the government of Niger, a landlocked West African nation, has authorized the U.S. military to fly unarmed drones from the mud-walled desert city of Agadez, according to Nigerian and U.S. officials.
Prisoners using drones to smuggle contraband, Nation of Change, (August 18,, 2014)
Defying conventional smuggling techniques, drone operators around the world are using a new method to sneak drugs, tobacco, cell phones, and other contraband into prisons. Capable of flying great distances, drones stashed with illicit packages can easily bypass prison walls to complete their deliveries. Many guards complain that they lack the proper ammunition to shoot down the drones.
Like Amazon, other firms want permission to fly drones, PC World, Martyn Williams (July 30, 2014)
Amazon made headlines this month when it sought permission from the U.S. governmentto test its drone-based delivery service, but it’s far from the only company that’s applied for such approval.
In the past two months alone, at least 14 other companies have sought permission to fly drones for commercial purposes as diverse as shooting movies and inspecting oil rigs at sea, according to applications to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reviewed by IDG News Service.
1 arrested after drone carrying phones, marijuana, other contraband crashes at US prison, Winnepeg Free Press, Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press (July 30, 2014)
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A drone carrying cellphones, marijuana and other contraband into a U.S. maximum-security prison never made it inside the razor wire fence, and authorities said Wednesday they are looking for one of two people accused of trying to sneak it in.
Lawmakers put aim on hunting drones bill, The Times-Tribune, Robert Swift (July 28 2014)
State lawmakers will consider regulating the use of aerial drones to monitor hunting activities and help hunters pursue game.
The Senate weighed in on the emerging national issue last month when it unanimously approved legislation to ban the use of drones to disturb and harass hunters, anglers and boaters.
But a pending House bill puts a different spin on the issue by proposing to ban hunters from using drones to spot or hunt wildlife during any big game season.
At least 49 large military drones crashed over US since 2001 - report, Reuters (June 23, 2014)
A minimum of 49 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) operated by the US armed forces have suffered major crashes in US airspace since 2001, a worrying number considering the thousands of civilian drones set to flood American skies in the coming months.
Drone with pepper spray offered for strike control in South Africa, South African firm says it has begun supplying drones to mining company, The Irish Times, by David Smith (June 21, 2014)
A South African company has built a drone designed to shower pepper spray on unruly crowds and says it has begun supplying units to an international mining company.
Desert Wolf claims it wants to help in “preventing another Marikana” – a reference to a protest in August 2012 at which 34 striking mineworkers were shot and killed during clashes with the police.
But the Skunk Riot Control Copter was condemned by labour activists as “absolutely outrageous” and compared with deadly US military drones in Pakistan.
400 drones crashed since 2001, six in Pakistan, International News, (Saturday, June 21, 2014)
WASHINGTON: More than 400 large US military drones have crashed in major accidents around the world since 2001, a record of calamity that exposes the potential dangers of throwing open American skies to drone traffic, according to a year-long Washington Post investigation.
Read the Washington Post story here.
LAPD adds drones to arsenal, says they'll be used sparingly, Los Angeles Times, by JOEL RUBIN (May 30, 2014)
The Los Angeles Police Department has acquired some eyes in the sky.
On Friday, the department announced that it had acquired two "unmanned aerial vehicles" as gifts from the Seattle Police Department.
The Draganflyer X6 aircraft, which resemble small helicopters, are each about 3 feet wide and equipped with a camera, video camera and infrared night-vision capabilities.
In making the announcement, however, department officials were at pains to make it clear the LAPD doesn't intend to use the new hardware to keep watch from above over an unsuspecting public. If they're used at all, the remotely controlled aircraft will be called on only for "narrow and prescribed uses" that will be made clear to the public, the statement said.
Military drone crashes near Pennsylvania elementary school, FT (April 5, 2014)
A nearly 400-pound unmanned aerial vehicle crash-landed near an elementary school in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania on Thursday afternoon, irritating members of the community and alarming civil liberties advocates nervous about drones flying over the US.
The drone, an RQ-7 Shadow, is 11 feet long with a 14 foot wingspan. Why it was flying in the air above Lickdale Elemantary School is unknown, but Major Ed Shank, a public affairs officer for the Pennsylvania National Guard, told Les Stewart of the Lebanon Daily News that drones operate out of Fort Indiantown Gap, an Army post in Lebanon County.
Helicopter and drone in near miss, The Austrailian (March 6, 2014)
A WESTPAC rescue helicopter and a drone nearly collided in the skies above Newcastle, sparking an investigation by the safety watchdog. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will interview the helicopter crew who narrowly avoided hitting the drone over the Newcastle suburb of Broadmeadow at about 10pm on Saturday.
FAA can’t regulate small RC aircraft as “drones,” judge rules NTSB judge strikes down $10,000 fine against man for unlicensed "commercial use." by Sean Gallagher (March 7, 2014)
In 2011, Raphael Pirker used a RiteWing Zephyr II remote-controlled flying wing to record aerial video of a hospital campus for use in a television advertisement. That act resulted in the Federal Aviation Administration issuing a fine to Pirker of $10,000 for that commercial use of an unmanned aircraft. But now an administrative judge with the National Transportation Safety Board has struck down that fine, contending that FAA regulations can’t be applied to the styrofoam drone Pirker flew.
FAA Decision Clears The Way for Drone Testing in Oregon by OPB News (December 31, 2013)
The Federal Aviation Administration will soon allow the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in the skies above Oregon. On Monday, the FAA announced it had selected a joint proposal from Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii to be among six newly designated drone testing sites across the US.
Read the BBC story (US announces six drone test sites)
US states await key drones decision - and the billions that will follow by The Guardian (UK) (December 26, 2013)
• Six states will be chosen to host drone test sites
• Oklahoma is one of 24 states in the running
• Oklahoma's drones: the next generation
Syracuse is 5th City to Enact Anti-drone Resolution by David Swanson (December 13, 2013)
Read the resolution here. PDF here.
Amnesty: "US Drone Strikes Could Be Classed As War Crimes" By Jon Boone, Guardian UK (October 22, 2013)
Joint report with Human Rights Watch judges US attacks in Yemen and Pakistan to have broken international human rights law
US officials responsible for the secret CIA drone campaign against suspected terrorists in Pakistan may have committed war crimes and should stand trial, a report by a leading human rights group warns. Amnesty International has highlighted the case of a grandmother who was killed while she was picking vegetables and other incidents which could have broken international laws designed to protect civilians.
The report is issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch detailing missile attacks in Yemen which the group believes could contravene the laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and Barack Obama's own guidelines on drones. Read More
DARPA's Plan to Flood the Sea With Drones, Carrying More Drones By Allen Mcduffee, Wired (September 14, 2013)
ARPA, the Pentagon's research agency, has recently revealed its plans to boost the Navy's response to threats in international waters by developing submerged unmanned platforms that can be deployed at a moment's notice.
Hydra, named after the serpent-like creature with many heads in Greek mythology, would create an undersea network of unmanned payloads and platforms to increase the capability and speed the response to threats like piracy, the rising number of ungoverned states, and sophisticated defenses at a time when the Pentagon is forced to make budget cuts. Read More.
Despite Administration Promises, Few Signs of Change in Drone Wars - By MARK MAZZETTI and MARK LANDLER, New York Times (August 4, 2013)
There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. And after Secretary of State John Kerry told Pakistanis on Thursday that the United States was winding down the drone wars there, officials back in Washington quickly contradicted him.
More than two months after President Obama signaled a sharp shift in America's targeted-killing operations, there is little public evidence of change in a strategy that has come to define the administration's approach to combating terrorism. Read More.
Most elements of the drone program remain in place,
Surveillance Surge on the Border - Todd Miller, Tomgram (July 11, 2013)
In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, wrested from the bowels of the secrecy/surveillance state, the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their small fleet of surveillance drones. Read more.
FBI has used drones in the United States - Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY (June 20, 2013)
FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged Wednesday that the agency has deployed drones to conduct surveillance in the U.S., and that the bureau was developing guidelines for their future law enforcement use. Read more.
Challenging the Drone Killing of Three Americans - Josh Bell, ACLU Media Media Strategist (July 19, 2013)
The New York Times published a powerful op-ed yesterday by Nasser Al-Aulaqi about the killing of his grandson Abdulrahman, in which he asked, “The government has killed a 16-year-old American boy. Shouldn’t it at least have to explain why?” In a federal court in Washington today, we are arguing that the government must explain and account for its actions. Read more.
Tens of Thousands of Drones Zipping Through U.S. Skies - Chris Francescani, Reuters (March 3, 2013)
Tens of thousands of domestic drones are zipping through U.S. skies, often flouting tight federal restrictions on drone use that require even the police and the military to get special permits.
Armed with streaming video, swivel cameras and infrared sensors, a new breed of high-tech domestic drones is beginning to change the way Americans see the world - and each other. Read more.
US Sends Troops to Niger for Drone Mission - David S. Cloud and Kathleen Hennessey, Los Angeles Times (Feb. 23, 2013)
About 100 U.S. troops have deployed to the West African country of Niger to help establish a drone base for surveillance missions, in the latest step by the United States to aid French forces battling Islamic militants in neighboring Mali. Read more.
Virginia Becomes First State to Pass Drone Regulations - Jason Koebler, US News and World Report (Feb. 5, 2013)
The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that will put a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by state and local law enforcement. If signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia will become the first state in the U.S. to enact drone regulations. Read More.
Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans - Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News (Open Channel, NBC News, Feb. 4, 2013)
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, Read more.
Deployment of Drones Across the US Will Turn American Soil Into War Zone - David Swanson (PressTV, Jan. 26, 2013)
In the absence of state or federal laws, localities around the United States are proceeding to put unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies as they see fit. The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones, and the use of drones up to 400 feet by police departments, at least 300 of which already have surveillance drones in operation. Read more.
Drones Beware: United Nations Investigates Obama's Targeted Killings - Spencer Ackerman (Wired, Jan. 24, 2013)
After years of warning that President Obama’s targeted killing program flirted with lawlessness, the United Nations has announced it’s investigating the centerpiece of the U.S.’s shadow wars worldwide. Read more.
Drones Watch - A Coalition Campaign to Monitor and Regulate Drone Use
Electronic Privacy Information Center - Stories specific to drones here.
Know Drones - What You Should Know About Drones | What You Can Do About Them
No Drones Network - A Resource
No Drones Oregon - A Resource (This seems to be inactive)
No Drones Washington - A Resource
Drones in Oregon
The drones are coming! The drones are coming!, The Oregonian, Steve Duin (August 9, 2014)
When the audience question note cards arrived at Thursday's community forum on drones, one asked, "What legal rights do we have against surveillance by drones operated by private citizens and corporations?" In light, that is, of paparazzi, voyeurism, child endangerment, stalking, burglary reconnaissance and corporate espionage.
Informed that Insitu is assembling the ScanEagle in the Columbia Gorge, a woman marched to the microphone and demanded to know how we can prevent a terrorist from using an oil train to take out the Bonneville Dam and wipe out Oregon's drone industry.
Local group calls for drone usage regulation, KOIN News, (August 9, 2014)
As drone usage continues to increase, one local group is pushing for the creation of a regulatory system to keep track of who owns a drone and for what purpose.
Privacy and safety have been two major concerns for drone usage in the Portland metro area.
As drones take off, Oregon rules up in air, Portland Tribune, Stefanie Donahue , (August 8, 2014)
The past year has been a big one for drones.
The unmanned aerial vehicles have caught worldwide attention for more than just warcraft. With few rules to govern their use, the technology is advancing to let people use drones for both innovation and mischief: everything from smuggling contraband into prisons and taking selfies, to potentially fighting fires, monitoring crops, filming movies, and delivering goods.
And with prices around $300 at stores like Fred Meyer and Verizon Wireless, they’re getting as easy to obtain as a cell phone.
SE Neighborhood buys a drone, plans to spy on Union Pacific, developers
There's a running joke in the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association that particularly vigilant members are nicknamed "flying monkeys" -- as in the creatures from The Wizard of Oz -- for their ability to incite fear in the hearts of opponents.
Well, keep an eye on the sky, Portland. The Southeast neighborhood actually now has a flying contraption on their team: A drone, which they have christened "Flying Monkey 1."
FAA decision means more unmanned aerial vehicles -- drones -- are coming to Oregon skies by Mike Francis, the Oregonian (December 30, 2013)
Unmanned aerial vehicles, from high-altitude balloons to hand-launched aircraft, apparently will ply the skies above Warm Springs, Tillamook and Pendleton following the Federal Aviation Administration's approval Monday of a regional application that includes at least three test ranges in Oregon.
Oregon boosters had hoped the state would be among those selected as development sites for the growing UAV sector
Spying the Friendly Skies: Drone Used for Recon in Afghanistan Now in Portland, Willamette Week, (November 15, 2013)
Military surveillance drones of the kind used to spy on Taliban targets for U.S. forces in Afghanistan are now based in Portland, but U.S. government officials are unclear how or when they might be used over the city or elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Read More
Oregon Senate passes bill limiting local government drone use - Christian Gaston, The Oregonian (June 10, 2013)
The Oregon Senate passed a bill aiming to rein in government drone use Monday. House Bill 2710 would put restrictions on public agencies in Oregon that use drones. It also would establish two new crimes, codifying that using a drone to interfere with another aircraft or hacking into a drone is against state law.
The bill would also allow property owners to seek damages from anyone operating a drone less than 400 feet above their property.
But most of the bill’s provisions put stark limits on state government drone use, outlawing their armament and requiring police departments to seek warrants in order to use them for evidence-gathering missions. Read More
Read the bill history including who voted Yes and who voted No.
Read the final bill.
Drones Over Pendleton: Unmanned Military Craft Plies Civilian Airspace - Richard Cockle, The Oregonian (May 14, 2013)
A 375-pound Oregon Army National Guard drone carrying a sophisticated camera was catapulted into the cobalt-blue eastern Oregon sky here Tuesday, in what Guard officials called the first-ever flight of an unmanned military aircraft through civilian airspace.
Until now, military drones have been confined to restricted airspace above U.S. military bases. The Guard expects to initially fly the four unmanned planes based here twice a month, and later expand the flights to once a week over the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport in Pendleton and wheat fields to the north, said Pat Caldwell, a Guard spokesman. Read More.
Oregon Drone Bill Would Claim the 'Airspace' Above Your Shoestrings - Jason Koebler, US News and World Report, (Jan. 31, 2013)
Can the air near your shoes be considered "public airspace?" In Oregon, at least, it soon might be.
A new bill making its way through Oregon's state senate would establish something known as "Airspace of Oregon" which the state could use to regulate drone use by agencies and private citizens. Read More
Two bill introduced in Oregon Legislature (2013)
#1 - Introduced by Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D), Bill #SB71
#2 - Introduced by Rep. John Huffman (R), Rep. Gene Whisnant (R), HB 2710
Drones spur fierce debate in Oregon over privacy, technology, jobs (The Oregonian, Jan 30, 2013)
One of the hot-button topics in state politics -- drones -- has come to Oregon, igniting a debate over technology, privacy and the promise of a tantalizing new industry. Unmanned aircraft, of the type used by the U.S. military to hunt down and kill suspected terrorist leaders, are expected to proliferate in the coming years, and a bipartisan pair of state lawmakers want to get ahead of the trend. Read more.
Wyden Lobbies for C.O. Drone Testing Site - Joe Burns, KTVZ ( March 2012)
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., visited the Bend Municipal Airport Tuesday, in part to see a runway paving project. It's just part of a wide-ranging FAA funding bill the senator helped get passed.
But another part of the bill has the senator particularly interested.
The bill also creates six unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone testing areas nationwide, and Central Oregon is still in the hunt for one.Read more