The Seattle police department wants to show off its new system of public surveillance. It invited the public to see one of the drones. The drone will not fly. Neither will the conference.
Who is going to spend his day looking at an immobile drone and asking questions to a bored police officer?
But the cops have the right idea. Get the public on board. After all, it’s high tech. Everyone likes high tech toys. The fact that the public will lose its privacy is neither here nor there.
Here are police policies governing drones (subject to modification at any time).
Seattle is special. “According to the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, SPD was among only a handful of law-enforcement agencies to win FAA approval to use drones, with the majority going to academic, military and government organizations.” The rest of us hope that Seattle remains special. (Don’t count on it.)
If you have skills at video games, there is a new career for you. “The department’s drones are operated with a handheld controller and joysticks and each carries cameras that can take still pictures, videos and infrared shots.” Your mother was wrong. “Stop playing that silly game and do your homework!” You paid no attention to her.
There is one slight technical problem. Batter life. It crashes in 10 minutes.
There is another. It can carry only 35 ounces.
Then there are FAA regulations. “According to FAA guidelines, police drones cannot be flown at night, around people or over crowds. FAA requirements also state that drones must be flown below 400 feet and must remain within eyesight of an operator as well as an observer at all times.”
But toys are toys. Taxpayers will fork over the money. Whoosh!