George Orwell’s ‘BIG BROTHER’ is here!
4-27-20, CBSNews -- Worldwide public health officials are employing drones to flyover us monitoring public spaces enforcing social distancing rules with the stated reason to help slow the Covid virus. Recently citizens of New York are seeing a drone buzzing above a the City park & it has a loudspeaker broadcasting a message: "This is the Anti-COVID-19 Volunteer Drone Task Force. Please maintain a social distance of at least six feet. For your own safety & your family's safety, please maintain social distancing. Thank you for your cooperation; we are all in this together."
Sergeant Tim Ehrenkaufer of Daytona Beach, Florida said they are one of 43 agencies in 21 states to receive a donations from drone manufacturer DJI, which gave away 100 as part of its disaster relief program. We’ve tested, but not deployed, other drone-backed technologies, like measuring body temperature. "It's equipped with a FLIR, the Forward Looking Infrared Camera, which can detect heat signatures as well. ... You still have the FAA & local laws that guide us. It doesn't matter if I'm using a drone, a telescoping antenna, or if I'm flying a kite with a camera on it. I don't have a right to look in your backyard without a search warrant." [Book: 1984]
In Connecticut the Westport Police Dept planned a drone program to monitor heat signatures and track distances between people. It could even recognize if someone coughed. However, because of privacy concerns, it wasn’t activated as there is too much potential abuse. Jeramie Scott, senior counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center said, "You could add the ability to do facial recognition, or the ability to do license plate reading, [or] thermal imaging cameras that can essentially see through walls"
CBS reporter asked: "Some people might say, 'Look, these extreme measures are just being used during this pandemic. Why should we worry?'" Scott said, "Then, there should be no issue with stating that & providing certain protections, saying this information is only being used in response to the public health issue & won't be used for other purposes." [Note: Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program. -- Milton Friedman]
Sergeant Ehrenkaufer says drones are limited to public spaces: However, currently no federal regulations exist that limit data collection – only "voluntary best practices." More here
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