Drone firm to naked woman in her home: we were not taking photos of you

Photo: Skyris Imaging.


Photo: Skyris Imaging.

A not-entirely-clothed woman in Seattle was alarmed when she looked out of her 26th-floor apartment window and saw a drone cruising the skies outside.

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Citing close encounters of the drone kind, FAA bans UAVs near airports

An octocopter drone hovers in front of vapor trails left by aircrafts during a demonstration. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic


An octocopter drone hovers in front of vapor trails left by aircrafts during a demonstration. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

In an updated advisory of restrictions around the use of drones, the Federal Aviation Adminstration says unmanned aerial vehicles may not be flown within 5 miles of any US airport, unless the drone operator has advance permission from the "airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower."

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'World's first riot control copter' drone unveiled, shoots pepper spray, plastic bullets

skunkAn eight-armed UAV designed by a South African firm to fire dye markers, pepper spray pellets, plastic bullets, and other "less-lethal" ammunition was shown off in London this week.

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Riot control drone that fires paintballs, pepper-spray and rubber bullets at protesters

The Skunk, a drone from South African company Desert Wolf, is billed as the first riot-control drone -- it fires dye-balls, pepper spray and rubber bullets at protesters, blinds them with strobes, broadcasts control messages to them, and records them. Its first customers are South African mine-owners wishing to target striking workers.

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Anti-drone clothing that prevents thermal imaging


The Privacy Gift Shop's Stealth Wear line is comprised of garments that stop you from being thermally imaged by drones. It comes in burqa ($2500), hijab ($550), and hoodie ($350).

Stealth Wear (Thanks, Marko!)

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Woman arrested for beating up boy flying drone on beach

assualt
Andrea Mears, a 24-year-old Connecticut woman, has been charged with third-degree assault and breach of peace after a teenager used his cell phone to record her assaulting him. She's heard on the video saying, "I'm gonna beat your ass, you little motherfucker." She was apparently upset that he was flying a remote control drone equipped with a camera on a public beach.

Appeals court orders Obama administration to disclose the legal theory for assassination of Americans

The Obama administration has lost a high-stakes lawsuit brought against it by the New York Times and the ACLU over its refusal to divulge the legal basis for its extrajudicial assassination program against US citizens. The Obama administration declared that it had the right to assassinate Americans overseas, far from the field of battle, on the basis of a secret legal theory. When it refused to divulge that theory in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, the Times and the ACLU sued. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has found in the Times's and ACLU's favor.

The Obama administration had insisted that the legal memo in question was protected as a national security secret. However, the court found that because the administration had made statements about the memo, assuring the public that the assassinations were legal, it had waived its right to keep the memo a secret. There's no work on whether the administration will appeal to the Supreme Court.

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Bay Area drone-fliers' meetup

Jeffrey writes, "Bay area flyers, come talk and fly drones over pizza and beer in our massive 17 foot tall ceiling warehouse! Amateur and professionals are welcome to come and talk drones and show off their airframes in action. We'll have plenty of charging stations, onsite repair workbench, tasty local beer, and food/snacks for flyers. Compete for fun prizes, fame, and whimsical trophies in our drone flying contests. Starts at noon on April 5, contests start at 2 PM. Plenty of parking and free for all." Cory 3

Drone drug deliveries in jail

Drones are being used to drop care packages of drugs into Quebec prisons, according to Stephane Lemaire, president of the province's correctional officers' union. On Sunday, guards at the Hull jail watched a drone flying over the yard but couldn't determine if it delivered any contraband. The Ottawa Sun paraphrased Lemaire as saying, "Officers don't have the right guns to take out drones -- especially near city centres -- and a net or even a jammer that would disrupt the drone's signal would go a long way."

US drones could be killing the wrong people because of metadata errors

The Intercept, the "fearless, adversarial journalism" venture launched by Pierre Omidyar's First Look Media, launched with a big boom today.

Lead story on the site right now, which is https by default (and straining under launch day load at the moment) explores "The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program."

The Intercept will initially focus on NSA stories based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, and this is one such story.

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California Assembly approves bills limiting use of drones by police, public agencies


An octocopter drone hovers in front of vapor trails left by aircrafts during a demonstration. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic

In California, state assembly lawmakers approved a number of bills today, including a measure to limit how law enforcement and public agencies can use drones:

The bill, by Assemblymembers Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Bill Quirk (D-Hayward), would require public agencies to destroy data collected by drones within six months and would ban the weaponization of drones in California.

It also would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant to use a drone, except in certain emergency situations.

More: California Assembly approves limits on drones, paparazzi - latimes.com.

Top lawyer finds GCHQ spying is illegal & UK spies who help US drone strike may be accessories to murder


UK Labour Member of Parliament Tom Watson writes, "I thought you might be interested to read the latest developments on the drones and data collection front. I've asked privacy expert Jemima Stratford QC for her legal opinion on aspects of the Snowden revelations. Contrary to reassurance from the Foreign Secretary and Chair of the ISC she finds [PDF]:


1. interception of 'internal' contents data of British citizens in the UK is unlawful under RIPA [ed: the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; the UK's controversial spying bill]

2. the RIPA framework is outdated and not fit for purpose, leaving British citizens exposed to unlawful interference

3. transfer of data to NSA, which shares data with CIA, leaves GCHQ officials exposed to charges of aiding murder in the UK where the government knows that data is available for use to direct drone strikes against non-combatants

Further, she argues:

4. the government should agree and publish a new memorandum of understanding with the US specifying how data from UK can be stored and used by foreign agents.

Watson doesn't do the report justice, really -- Stratford's opinion includes that UK participation in US drone strikes opens up individual UK intelligence operatives to being charged as accessories to murder. Watson sent copies of the report to all the members of the all-party parliamentary drone group, which of which he is chair. He's also sending it to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee for their own hearings on surveillance.

The Guardian has a great summary of the memo here, but really, you should read it yourself [PDF] -- it's a very quick and easy read. Stratford is a leading public law barrister, and she argues beautifully.

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Rugged drone airframe

Drone designer Marque Cornblatt and Eli DElia have designed a sturdy multicopter airframe that stands up to the typical kinds of abusive inflicted on drones by clumsy newbie pilots. He's launched a kickstarter for these nearly indestructible frames.

World's Toughest Action-Sports Airframe by Game of Drones

Autonomous multicopter made from pool noodles

Mark Harrison made a quadcopter body out of sections of pool noodle, producing a UAV that's cheap, rugged and great for practicing on. As he points out on Make, the beauty of multicopters is that they don't have to be aerodynamic and their bodies don't have any moving parts, giving you lots of flexibility in design. Plus: "Let's face it, it's just funny to think of flying pool noodles!"

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Haunted by drones

Call me juvenile, but watching a drone in a banshee costume chasing joggers just about made my day. Cory 12