UK Liberty

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s an unmanned spy drone

Posted in politicians on liberty, surveillance society by ukliberty on August 6, 2008

The Independent:

The Government is drawing up plans to use unmanned “drone” aircraft currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to counter terrorism and aid police operations in Britain.

The MoD is carrying out research and development to enable the spy planes, which are equipped with highly sophisticated monitoring equipment that allows them to secretly track and photograph suspects without their knowledge, to be deployed within three years.

The plans have been backed by the House of Commons Defence Committee but have attracted criticism from civil liberties campaigners concerned about the implications of covert surveillance of civilians.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can obtain clear images while flying at up to 50,000ft. If ministers give the scheme the go-ahead the UK will be among the first countries to use UAVs to monitor its own citizens.

As with ID cards and a central database, it’s great to see the UK on the forefront of technology again!

Not entirely sure why it has to involve spying on its own citizens though…

The Israeli military operates them over Palestinian cities such as Gaza and Ramallah, while the US Customs and Border Protection agency flies them over the Mexican border to detect illegal migrants along specified routes.

Gareth Crossman, director of policy at the civil rights watchdog Liberty, said: “The question is not so much about the technology but what one does with it. We have quite definite laws about where CCTV can be used but of course with UAVs you have much greater ability to gather material in private spaces and this would lead to concern.”

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