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DHS drones with built in unConstitutional capabilities

Discussion in 'Freedom and Liberty' started by CATO, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. CATO

    CATO Monkey+++

    DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones | Politics and Law - CNET News

    DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones

    Homeland Security's specifications say drones must be able to detect whether a civilian is armed. Also specified: "signals interception" and "direction finding" for electronic surveillance.

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has customized its Predator drones, originally built for overseas military operations, to carry out at-home surveillance tasks that have civil libertarians worried: identifying civilians carrying guns and tracking their cell phones, government documents show.

    The documents provide more details about the surveillance capabilities of the department's unmanned Predator B drones, which are primarily used to patrol the United States' northern and southern borders but have been pressed into service on behalf of a growing number of law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Secret Service, the Texas Rangers, and local police.

    Homeland Security's specifications for its drones, built by San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, say they "shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not," meaning carrying a shotgun or rifle. They also specify "signals interception" technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and "direction finding" technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios.

    The Electronic Privacy Information Center obtained a partially redacted copy of Homeland Security's requirements for its drone fleet through the Freedom of Information Act and published it this week. CNET unearthed an unredacted copy of the requirements that provides additional information about the aircraft's surveillance capabilities.
    Homeland Security's Predator B drone can stay aloft conducting surveillance for 20 hours.
    (Credit: U.S. Department of Homeland Security)

    Concern about domestic use of drones is growing, with federal legislation introduced last month that would establish legal safeguards, in addition to parallel efforts underway from state and local lawmakers. The Federal Aviation Administration recently said that it will "address privacy-related data collection" by drones.

    The prospect of identifying armed Americans concerns Second Amendment advocates, who say that technology billed as securing the United States' land and maritime borders should not be used domestically. Michael Kostelnik, the Homeland Security official who created the program, told Congress that the drone fleet would be available to "respond to emergency missions across the country," and a Predator drone was dispatched to the tiny town of Lakota, N.D., to aid local police in a dispute that began with reimbursement for feeding six cows. The defendant, arrested with the help of Predator surveillance, lost a preliminary bid to dismiss the charges.

    "I am very concerned that this technology will be used against law-abiding American firearms owners," says Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. "This could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights."

    Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection agency declined to answer questions about whether direction-finding technology is currently in use on its drone fleet. A representative provided CNET with a statement about the agency's unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) that said signals interception capability is not currently used:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not deploying signals interception capabilities on its UAS fleet. Any potential deployment of such technology in the future would be implemented in full consideration of civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy interests and in a manner consistent with the law and long-standing law enforcement practices.​
    CBP's UAS program is a vital border security asset. Equipped with state-of-the-art sensors and day-and-night cameras, the UAS provides real-time images to frontline agents to more effectively and efficiently secure the nation's borders. As a force multiplier, the UAS operates for extended periods of time and allows CBP to safely conduct missions over tough-to-reach terrain. The UAS also provides agents on the ground with added situational awareness to more safely resolve dangerous situations.​
    During his appearance before the House Homeland Security committee, Kostelnik, a retired Air Force major general who recently left the agency, testified that the drones' direction-finding ability is part of a set of "DOD capabilities that are being tested or adopted by CBP to enhance UAS performance for homeland security." CBP currently has 10 Predator drones and is considering buying up to 14 more.

    If the Predator drones were used only to identify smugglers or illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican and Canadian borders, or for disaster relief, they might not be especially controversial. But their use domestically by other government agencies has become routine enough -- and expensive enough -- that Homeland Security's inspector general said (PDF) last year that CBP needs to sign agreements "for reimbursement of expenses incurred fulfilling mission requests."

    "The documents clearly evidence that the Department of Homeland Security is developing drones with signals interception technology and the capability to identify people on the ground," says Ginger McCall, director of the Open Government Project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "This allows for invasive surveillance, including potential communications surveillance, that could run afoul of federal privacy laws."

    A Homeland Security official, who did not want to be identified by name, said the drones are able to identify whether movement on the ground comes from a human or an animal, but that they do not perform facial recognition. The official also said that because the unarmed drones have a long anticipated life span, the department tries to plan ahead for future uses to support its border security mission, and that aerial surveillance would comply with the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and other applicable federal laws.

    The documents show that CBP specified that the "tracking accuracy should be sufficient to allow target designation," and the agency notes on its Web site that its Predator B series is capable of "targeting and weapons delivery" (the military version carries multiple 100-pound Hellfire missiles). CBP says, however, that its Predator aircraft are unarmed.

    Gene Hoffman, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who's the chairman of the Calguns Foundation, said CBP "needs to be very careful with attempts to identify armed individuals in the border area" when aerial surveillance touches on a constitutional right.

    "In the border area of California and Arizona, it may be actively dangerous for the law-abiding to not carry firearms precisely due to the illegal flow of drugs and immigrants across the border in those areas," Hoffman says.

    CBP's specifications say that signals interception and direction-finding technology must work from 30MHz to 3GHz in the radio spectrum. That sweeps in the GSM and CDMA frequencies used by mobile phones, which are in the 300MHz to 2.7GHz range, as well as many two-way radios.

    The specifications say: "The system shall provide automatic and manual DF of multiple signals simultaneously. Automatic DF should be able to separate out individual communication links." Automated direction-finding for cell phones has become an off-the-shelf technology: one company sells a unit that its literature says is "capable of taking the bearing of every mobile phone active in a channel."

    Although CBP's unmanned Predator aircraft are commonly called drones, they're remotely piloted by FAA-licensed operators on the ground. They can fly for up to 20 hours and carry a payload of about 500 lbs.
  2. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    ... I have grown weary of these violations... It is abundantly clear that they are inciting us to violence.
    VisuTrac, oldawg and tacmotusn like this.
  3. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Since when has carrying a firearm been illegal in most of the United Police State of Amerika? Can their freakin' drone detect my CCW license?
    oldawg likes this.
  4. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I hope they can see my middle finger and my brown eye at the same time.. fuck them in the ass with a rusty 90mm bore brush.
    oldawg and tacmotusn like this.
  5. tacmotusn

    tacmotusn Mosquito Sailor

    Come on, tell us how you actually feel! LOL
  6. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    I'm sure they know. They probably outfitted the drone with laser technology that can detect vibrations on the walls of my house. In which case, they know exactly what I think of them and their bondage masters. Only if we lose would we be branded terrorists. Winners get to be called anything they want.
    tacmotusn likes this.
  7. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a NOTE, here: The Comms Monitoring and DF Capabilities will not be effective when used against Spread Spectrum Comms Devices. It will be effective against any FM, or AM Modulation Systems. Spoofing these capabilities, of the Drones, can also be a very effective Counter Measure.
    VisuTrac, gunbunny and UGRev like this.
  8. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Do you spoof them with lead slugs, or shot?:(
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Nope, I would assume that they would be flying above angels10... Way out of normal weapons Range... So I would be spoofing them with deliberate False Comms,..... While keeping my legitimate Comms on SECURE Comms Systems... Very easy to do, in small group Tactics....

    Oh, and another interesting NOTE, on this ISSUE, ALLthese Drones MUST have a Working Aircraft Transponder on board, to fly in USA Airspace. These transponder Signals CAN be easily monitored, by ANYONE, who buys the Receiving Technology, and it will let one KNOW if a Drone is overhead... Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it is not there, but it is a violation of INTERNATIONAL Conventions, to fly without an Aircraft Transponder over anyone's Commercial Airspace....
    tacmotusn and VisuTrac like this.
  10. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Let's see, How to stop a drone?
    50 Cal? Nope, Golden BB lottery odds.
    Signal Jamming? Well, probably hardened against that. Plus prohibitively expensive equip. cost.

    what to do, what to do?

    Ah, the weakest link. Go for that.
    Just find the pilots. You know those soft targets that go into a non descript building every day, come out at the end of their shift, drive to the gas station, drive home, pop in a movie, go to sleep, lather rinse repeat. I'll guarntee that they don't all live on a base in the middle of the desert. Civilians like us, but on the gov't dole. Doing the masters bidding.

    Those are how you keep drones from flying overhead. No pilots (because you convinced them that what they were doing was really really bad) equals no drones.

    Wonder how hard it's going to be to get a list of FAA approved pilots, ply some social engineering and triangulate where the nest might be.
    oldawg, tacmotusn and CATO like this.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

  12. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    Isn't that special, the FAA maintains a database of all Airmen Certificates and it's less than 80Mb.

    Gotta love our government. They do love to maintain lists of stuff.
    oldawg likes this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I wonder if that includes Drone Pilots? I am not aware of a Drone Pilot Certificate, in the USA...
  14. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    I suspect there are two Classes of Drones.... One that flys ABOVE angels1 and those that fly LOWER than that.... Licensed Pilots, WITH AVIATION Comms on board, would be required for the former, and nothing required for the Later...
  15. VisuTrac

    VisuTrac Ваша мать носит военные ботинки Site Supporter+++

    the ones that fly over 400 ft AGL require a licensed pilot.
    the ones that are under 400AGL, well, i can shoot them down with my crazy uncle joe approved shotgun if'n it peeks over the trees.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Well, cool, 400ADL puts them inside Super Goose Gun range, and above requiring Pilots and Local Aviation Comms means they can be watched for Electronically.... Good got that covered.

    And, any violation of FAA Rules, would negate, ANY collected information, to be used in a Court of Law.... Fruit of the Poisonous Tree... LE can NOT violate the Law, while gathering Intel, or making a Case....
    VisuTrac likes this.
  17. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Information such as that might be very helpful at some point. Must be graduation pics somewhere as classes have to be taken to fly these things.
  18. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Would be better to find out the operator locations if you know they are being used in your area. Real time problem elimination!
  19. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Bet their list of us suspected domestic terrorist is WAY bigger than 80mb. At least I hope so.;)
  20. veryconcerned

    veryconcerned Monkey+

    Scary times, if that doesnt raise suspicion than I dont know what does, well maybe executive order 13603 which is essentially Marshall law on crack or the fact that we are transforming into a totalitarian state
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