The Federal Aviation Administration has finally released a new drone authorization list. This list, released in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, includes law enforcement agencies and universities across the country, and—for the first time—an Indian tribal agency. In all, the list includes more than 20 new entities over the FAA’s original list, bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012…

The list comes amid extensive controversy over a newly-released memo documenting the CIA’s policy on the targeted killing of American citizens and on the heels of news that Charlottesville, Virginia has just become one of the first cities in the country to ban drones. This new list should contribute to the debate over whether using domestic drones for surveillance is consistent with the Constitution and with American values.

As we’ve written in the past, drone use in the United States implicates serious privacy and civil liberties concerns. Although drones can be used for neutral, or even for positive purposes, drones are also capable of highly advanced and, in some cases, almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data. Even the smallest drones can carry a host of surveillance equipment, from video cameras and thermal imaging to GPS tracking and cellphone eavesdropping tools. They can also be equipped with advanced forms of radar detection, license plate cameras, and facial recognition. And, as recent reporting from PBS and Slate shows, surveillance tools, like the military’s development of gigapixel technology capable of “tracking people and vehicles across an entire city,” are improving rapidly.

You can decide on your own best defense. I like Uncle Dave’s modified tinfoil hat.



  1. roy b giv says:

    as O’Byden says, “Two loads from my shotgun will get the job done…).

    • Phydeau says:

      And the police will show up at your door after looking at the last picture the drone took. :(

      • roy b giv says:

        ah’ll just be wearin’ ma tinfoil hoodie sendin’ out no heat signature. wham, blam! sent that sucker down with ma shotgun.

        doan mess with Colonel, Vice President O’Byden. he said it all…

    • msbpodcast says:

      Assuming the drone is not so stealthy that you actually hear and/or see it hovering over your backyard pool where you, the spouse and your swapping fuck-buddy neighbors are passing joints and bottles around while skinny dipping.

      A drone can be made extremely quiet (with electric motors, its a question of adjusting propeller prop speed and attack angle,) and camouflaged against the sky (its a question of paint and breaking up the silhouette so it doesn’t look like a manufactured object.)

      • msbpodcast says:

        And that’s assuming that you can’t/don’t just land the drone on a rooftop or in a gutter/rain through and let the cameras run, while you fap away.

  2. Guyver says:

    Woo hoo! I’m in a drone-free zone…. for now.

    • msbpodcast says:

      Don’t believe everything you read.

      The FAA list is merely a suggestion for the law abiding idiots who actually apply it.

      Find me a single politician/cop/figure of authority who thinks that laws actually apply unequivocally to him and I’ll show you an ignorant newbie who’s still wet behind the ears.

      I can see drug gangs making use of drones to check out rendez-vous and drop-off points before sending personel to a remote location to do their business in peace and quiet (or to get the drop on incoming interference, from cops or rivals, long before it gets there.)

  3. pedro says:

    These damned repukes. Oh, wait!

    Yawn!

  4. Cap'n Kangaroo says:

    One of my college professors told my senior class that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles ( drones) was the brightest career path.

    That was 1986.

    • MikeN says:

      Considering they are unmanned, that seems silly.

      • Cap'n Kangaroo says:

        As it was Aerospace Engineering I was studying, it was a very prescient suggestion.

  5. noname says:

    The next logical step autonomous Humanoids.

    Face it, the 99% will be redundant, so get used to it now.

    In the future, the 99%, the “Flintstones” will live grubby lives on the low ground, while the 1%, the “Jetsons” will live opulently in high places or the sky. There will be no middle ground or crossover. Drones will be used to monitor the “Flintstones” as they farm the food for the “Jetsons”.

  6. Mr Diesel says:

    We are in a drone zone. It was on one of the local TV station’s newscast this morning.

    Hopefully I’m far away from the target area, hopefully…

  7. Norm says:

    Heeeey, Monterrey is in the wrong place…it should be 150miles south of Laredo…IN MEXICO.

  8. Norm says:

    Never mind. It’s for reference not a “target”

    • pedro says:

      Monterrey is properly positioned in the map. Its point is below its name

  9. The punishment of flapping without authorisation is DEATH! HOW DARE YOU FAP WITHOUT A FAP LISCENCE!

    ‘But I was just…’ *You have twenty seconds to stop fapping, you have twenty seconds to comply*

    ‘OK!, I’ve stopped!’

    * you have fifteen seconds to comply*

    ‘Dude, my plant’s are back on!’

    *15 seconds…*

    J.D. ”Shut up, bozo!”

    Me: OK, soz bruv.

  10. MikeN says:

    The government’s us. These officials are elected by you… they are constrained by the system that our founders put in place.

    • Abe says:

      what a pleasant, ancient concept; it must have been a great country once, before Saint Reagan

  11. DumDum says:

    Is your town a “free-fire” zone? WTF?!!!

    This is almost as stupid as saying stem cells have something to do with abortions or even cloning.

    Here’s the thing: ANY/ALL UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES OPERATED BY U.S. MILITARY OR EVEN PARAMILITARY ORGANIZATIONS (LIKE POLICE) ARE PREVENTED BY LAW FROM BEING ARMED WHILE FLYING IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. In fact, nearly all paramilitary organizations (like cops) can’t even arm their own manned aircraft.

    Not that LAWS have ever really stopped a jack booted thug organization like the FBI from breaking the law or anything. But I still saw NOTHING about ARMED drones. So what’s all this business about “fire-free”?!

    Seems a bit bigoted to assume that all drones are now armed simply because the U.S. uses them in other war-torn countries. It also seems a bit bigoted to be objecting to PUBLIC surveillance unless the people objecting possibly have something to hide WHILE IN PUBLIC.

    • noname says:

      Absolutely, I have nothing to hide. Privacy, who needs that?

      Aren’t the fictitious needs of the state more important than the constitutional and legal rights of an American citizen? It’s not like the Bill of rights mean anything, right?

  12. GregAllen says:

    More paranoia.

    The Constitution is not invalidated every time a new weapon is invented.

  13. GregAllen says:

    I’d love to build a drone. (If I wasn’t so lazy.)

    I used to goof around with RC airplanes but, back then, it was all film cameras and they were way too bulky.

    I still have my ham radio license which gives me access to some cool UHF bands to use.