Monday, February 11, 2013

Freedom of Information Request: FAA forced to release list of U.S. groups who say they need to fly drones over America

Government Security News reports that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has produced results: the list of U.S. organizations that have applied to fly drones over America:

The new drone authorization list, said EFF, includes law enforcement agencies and universities across the country, and the first Indian tribal agency to apply. In all, EFF said the list includes more than 20 new entities over the FAA’s original list, bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012.

...EFF said it received the list as [the] controversy over the use of the unmanned aircraft grows. Several cities, including Charlottesville, VA, and Florida lawmakers consider legislation to ban their use in the state. EFF reiterated its criticism that drones have serious privacy and civil liberty concerns, even though they can be used for beneficial purposes.

EFF said it hopes the new list would spur questions from civilians to law enforcement agencies about their drone programs.

1 Arlington Police Department  (Texas)
2 Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (California)
3 California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
4 California State University, Fresno
5 Canyon County Sheriff's Office (Idaho)
6 City of Herington (Kansas)
7 City of Houston, TX Police Department
8 City of North Little Rock, AR ‐ Police Department
9 Clackamas County Sheriff's Office (Oregon)
10 Cornell University
11 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
12 Department of Energy  ‐ Oak Ridge National Laboratory
13 Department of Homeland Security  ‐  Science and Technology
14 Department of Homeland Security  ‐ Customs and Border Protection
15 Department of the Interior
16 Eastern Gateway Community College
17 Federal Bureau of Investigation
18 Gadsden Police Department (Alabama)
19 Georgia Tech Police Department, Office of Emergency Preparedness
20 Georgia Tech Research Institute
21 Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department (North Dakota)
22 Hays County Emergency Service Office (Texas)
23 Indiana State University
24 Kansas State University
25 King County Sheriff's Office (Washington)
26 Lorain County Community College
27 Medina County Sheriff Office (Ohio)
28 Mesa County Sheriff's Office (Colorado)
29 Miami‐Dade Police Department (Florida)
30 Middle Georgia College
31 Middle Tennessee State University
32 Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
33 Mississippi State University
34 Montgomery County Sheriff's Office (Texas)
35 National Aeronautics & Space Administration
36 National Institute of Standards and Technology
37 National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
38 New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology  
39 New Mexico State University  ‐ Physical Science Laboratory
40 Nicholls State University
41 Northwestern Michigan College
42 Ogden Police Department (Utah)
43 Ohio Department of Transportation
44 Ohio University
45 Orange County Sheriff’s Office (Florida)
46 Oregon State University
47 Otter Tail County (Minnesota)
48 Pennsylvania State University
49 Polk County Sheriff's Office (Florida)
50 Seattle Police Department (Washington)
51 Sinclair Community College
52 Texas A&M University (TAMU) ‐ Corpus Christi
53 Texas A&M University (TAMU) ‐ Texas Engineering Experiment Station
54 Texas Department of Public Safety
55 Texas State University
56 U.S. Air Force
57 U.S. Army
58 U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service
59 U.S. Department of Agriculture ‐ Forest Service
60 U.S. Department of Energy  ‐ Idaho National Laboratory
61 U.S. Department of Energy  ‐ National Energy Technology Laboratory
62 U.S. Department of Justice  ‐ Queen Anne's County Office of the Sheriff
63 U.S. Department of State
64 U.S. Marine Corps
65 U.S. Navy
66 University of Alaska, Fairbanks
67 University of Arizona
68 University of California, Davis
69 University of California, Merced
70 University of Colorado, Boulder
71 University of Connecticut
72 University of Florida
73 University of Michigan
74 University of North Dakota
75 University of Oklahoma
76 University of Wisconsin
77 Utah State University
78 Virginia Commonwealth University
79 Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
80 Washington State Department of Transportation
81 West Virginia University

So not only are police departments militarizing at a frightening clip (thanks to DHS money slathered around at a furious pace), they're also trying to procure drones to perform surveillance just like the military does in Afghanistan.

What could possibly go wrong?


Georg Felis said...

Hm. Most of these places either used to have a helicopter/airplane service, or were wanting to get one. We really don't realize how many manned aircraft fly overhead every day taking crop photos and doing power line inventory and such. If the cost of these expensive services can be cut in half (for example) it could actually save taxpayers money. Then again, it could just be used to double the number of pushy federal/state eyes looking down on us, which is more likely.

With the size of these drones dropping every day, and capacity jumping, I think its time to do a careful plan on just how to allow their use without stomping all over our rights not to be peeked on.

Bones said...

I envision a whole new pastime of hacking, stealing and crashing drones.

Sarthurk said...

I'm pretty sure that OSU is using a drone to video graphically survey sea bird populations on the coast as part of larger coastal resource use and monitoring project.
Did you know OSU has a nuclear reactor on Campus?