UK police using hovering camera for surveillance

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Police in Britain are conducting trials on a small battery-powered, radio-controlled helicopter called the Microdrone that comes with a camera and a loudspeaker. The manufacturer's demonstration video points out that the copter works as a peeping tom device. (Not that the police would ever misuse it.)
It's battery powered, so it's quieter -- apparently at 350 feet it is rarely noticed from the ground -- but more limited in terms of performance. Although it might seem flimsy, the video shows how stable it is in flight. It is said to be quite rugged and can return to base even if it loses two of its four rotor blades. One unusual feature is a speaker so that police can give instructions to those on the ground.

The video ... contains some footage shot from a Microdrone, which gives an impressive display of its powers. Zooming in on a sunbather in a bikini as a demonstration is not likely to allay fears about how intrusive this technology might be. And the ability to hover outside a window and peer in is one which is equally open to use and abuse.

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