Civil liberty fears as police consider using drones that film from 1,500ft – The Guardian

18 November 2021
Drone for policing
Photo by Jason Blackeye on Unsplash


As the creepy, dystopian surveillance infrastructure grows around us with every passing day, ever notice how concerns about civil liberties are only ever attributed to “civil liberties campaigners”?

What about the rest of us?

Police in England and Wales are considering using drone-mounted cameras that could film high-quality live footage from 1,500ft (457 metres) away, raising concerns among civil liberties campaigners.

The National Police Air Service (NPAS), which provides air support to 46 police forces, has asked private companies for information about systems that offer both “airborne imaging” and “air to ground communication”.

The callout, on a government outsourcing website, states: “The imaging systems are intended for use on BVLOS (beyond visual line of sight) remotely piloted aircraft systems: ‘drones’.”

we’re concerned that this extreme, militaristic form of surveillance could be used in ways that breach rights and harm democracy, such as spying on peaceful protests

Silkie Carlo, director Big Brother Watch

The NPAS told potential bidders that the systems should be capable of transmitting live, high-quality images even in low light, using “electro-optical” or “infra-red” systems. It said this would enable officers to pick out detail such as “facial features”, as well as clothing and vehicle registration plates, at a distance of between 500ft and 1,500ft.

The cameras should be able to operate on a drone that stays in the air for up to four hours and flies up to 50km (31 miles) from the base station from which they are controlled, the NPAS said.

Drones have been used by English and Welsh police forces, including the Met, which said in March that they had been deployed to survey crime scenes and provide live footage of operations.

But the NPAS call for information indicates plans for a national rollout using updated technology. This has raised concerns among civil liberties campaigners about issues including privacy, the role of private companies in state surveillance and the potential misuse of such technology to target legitimate protesters.

Read the article on the Guardian’s website

Virtual Bezos
Previous Story

Billionaire Reveals Virtual Reality Experience Called ‘Mainstream Media’

Mask up bitches!
Next Story

Winning the War Against Therapeutic Nihilism & Trusted Treatments – Dr Peter McCullough