Currently it would appear more of a US issue, however it is inevitable that what the administration does there, will follow here, in the UK. We have the same government, it would appear, seperated by geography and little else these days. Just look at the Olympics 2012 military colab.
Anyway below is the article reposted verbatim from EFF. More as we find it. Now imagine hacking these drones… and what one could do with THAT kind of botnet 😉
Help EFF Find Out How Your Local Police Agency is Using Drones
Since last month, when EFF released a list of the sixty-odd public agencies that have already received from the FAA approval to fly domestic drones, the issue of drone surveillance has reached front and center in many Americans’ mind. Yet barely any information is known about what law enforcement agencies plan to do with these unmanned flying vehicles. So we want your help to gather this information into one place.
The groups listed by the FAA included about two dozen local police agencies, but we expect this number to grow rapidly in the coming weeks and months. In February, Congress passed a bill mandating the FAA authorize drones to public agencies if they can prove they can fly them safely. More recently, the Department of Homeland Security, which was already handing out grants to local law enforcement agencies, announced a program to further “facilitate and accelerate the adoption” of drones by local police agencies. In addition, last month the FAA announced it had established new (though undisclosed) procedures to allow more law enforcement agencies quicker access to fly drones.
The $4 million Air-based Technologies Program, which will test and evaluate small, unmanned aircraft systems, is designed to be a “middleman” between drone manufacturers and first-responder agencies “before they jump into the pool,” said John Appleby, a manager in the DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s division of borders and maritime security.
This is, or will become, a controversy all over the United States. From Seattle to Miami, Tennessee to Atlanta, and everywhere in between, local towns will soon grapple over the privacy dangers drones will create.
As we have explained before, the capabilities of drones are almost unprecedented in scope:
Drones are capable of highly advanced and almost constant surveillance, and they can amass large amounts of data. They carry various types of equipment including live-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar. Some newer drones carry super high resolution “gigapixel” cameras that can “track people and vehicles from altitudes above 20,000 feet[,] . . . [can] monitor up to 65 enemies of the State simultaneously[, and] . . . can see targets from almost 25 miles down range.” Predator drones can eavesdrop on electronic transmissions, and one drone unveiled at DEFCON last year can crack Wi-Fi networks and intercept text messages and cell phone conversations—without the knowledge or help of either the communications provider or the customer. Drones are also designed to carry weapons, and some have suggested that drones carrying weapons such as tasers and bean bag guns could be used domestically.
Given Congress’ inaction on privacy issues, and the fact that the FAA has never regulated privacy issues, we believe activism at the local level is the best way to stop drone surveillance.
What you can do
The FAA has so far not released any information on which model of drone or how many drones each public entity flies. We also don’t have much information on the type of data these drones will collect. So we need to find this information out.
We’ve made a simple form for the questions we want these police agencies to answer. We need you to call your local police department and ask them these questions. Check your local police department’s website for the “Public Inquiries” or “Community Relations” contact, and call or e-mail them these questions. Make sure to let us know your Twitter handle if you’d like us to tweet you a thank you from the @EFF Twitter feed.
Our list of drone certificates includes police departments that we already know have a drone authorization from the FAA.
This is just the first step. Once we’ve collected the data, we will release it and tell you how you can contact your local municipal government to demand that they ban law enforcement drones or install robust privacy safeguards that will protect citizens from unwanted—and unconstitutional—surveillance.
In a case that raises questions about online journalism and privacy rights, the U.S. Department of Justice sent a formal request to an independent news site ordering it to provide details of all reader visits on a certain day.
The grand jury subpoena also required the Philadelphia-based Indymedia.us Web site “not to disclose the existence of this request” unless authorized by the Justice Department, a gag order that presents an unusual quandary for any news organization.
Kristina Clair, a 34-year old Linux administrator living in Philadelphia who provides free server space for Indymedia.us, said she was shocked to receive the Justice Department’s subpoena. (The Independent Media Center is a left-of-center amalgamation of journalists and advocates that – according to their principles of unity and mission statement – work toward “promoting social and economic justice” and “social change.”)
The subpoena (PDF) from U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison in Indianapolis demanded “all IP traffic to and from http://www.indymedia.us” on June 25, 2008. It instructed Clair to “include IP addresses, times, and any other identifying information,” including e-mail addresses, physical addresses, registered accounts, and Indymedia readers’ Social Security Numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, and so on.
“I didn’t think anything we were doing was worthy of any (federal) attention,” Clair said in a telephone interview with CBSNews.com on Monday. After talking to other Indymedia volunteers, Clair ended up calling the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which represented her at no cost.
Under long-standing Justice Department guidelines, subpoenas to members of the news media are supposed to receive special treatment. One portion of the guidelines, for instance, says that “no subpoena may be issued to any member of the news media” without “the express authorization of the attorney general” – that would be current attorney general Eric Holder – and subpoenas should be “directed at material information regarding a limited subject matter.”
Still unclear is what criminal investigation U.S. Attorney Morrison was pursuing. Last Friday, a spokeswoman initially promised a response, but Morrison sent e-mail on Monday evening saying: “We have no comment.” The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. also declined to respond.
Kevin Bankston, a senior staff attorney at the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, replied to the Justice Department on behalf of his client in a February 2009 letter(PDF) outlining what he described as a series of problems with the subpoena, including that it was not personally served, that a judge-issued court order would be required for the full logs, and that Indymedia did not store logs in the first place.
Morrison replied in a one-sentence letter saying the subpoena had been withdrawn. Around the same time, according to the EFF, the group had a series of discussions with assistant U.S. attorneys in Morrison’s office who threatened Clair with possible prosecution for obstruction of justice if she disclosed the existence of the already-withdrawn subpoena — claiming it “may endanger someone’s health” and would have a “human cost.”
Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of The Press, said a gag order to a news organization wouldn’t stand up in court: “If you get a subpoena and you’re a journalist, they can’t gag you.”
Dalglish said that a subpoena being issued and withdrawn is not unprecedented. “I have seen any number of these things withdrawn when counsel for someone who is claiming a reporter’s privilege says, ‘Can you tell me the date you got approval from the attorney general’s office’… I’m willing to chalk this up to bad lawyering on the part of the DOJ, or just not thinking.”
Making this investigation more mysterious is that Indymedia.us is an aggregation site, meaning articles that appear on it were published somewhere else first, and there’s no hint about what sparked the criminal probe. Clair, the system administrator, says that no IP (Internet Protocol) addresses are recorded for Indymedia.us, and non-IP address logs are kept for a few weeks and then discarded.
EFF’s Bankston wrote a second letter to the government saying that, if it needed to muzzle Indymedia, it should apply for a gag order under the section of federal law that clearly permits such an order to be issued. Bankston’s plan: To challenge that law on First Amendment grounds.
But the Justice Department never replied. “This is the first time we’ve seen them try to get the IP address of everyone who visited a particular site,” Bankston said. “That it was a news organization was an additional troubling fact that implicates First Amendment rights.”
This is not, however, the first time that the Feds have focused on Indymedia — a Web site whose authors sometimes blur the line between journalism, advocacy, and on-the-streets activism. In 2004, the Justice Department sent a grand jury subpoena asking for information about who posted lists of Republican delegates while urging they be given an unwelcome reception at the party’s convention in New York City that year. A Indymedia hosting service in Texas once received a subpoena asking for server logs in relation to an investigation of an attempted murder in Italy.
Bankston has written a longer description of the exchange of letters with the Justice Department, which he hopes will raise awareness of how others should respond to similar legal demands for Web logs, customer records, and compulsory silence. “Our fear is that this kind of bogus gag order is much more common than one would hope, considering they’re legally baseless,” Bankston says. “We’re telling this story in hopes that more providers will press back and go public when the government demands their silence.”
Update 1:59pm E.T.: A Justice Department official familiar with this subpoena just told me that the attorney general’s office never saw it and that it had not been submitted to the department’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for review. If that’s correct, it suggests that U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison and Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris Pryor did not follow department regulations requiring the “express authorization of the attorney general” for media subpoenas — and it means that neither Attorney General Eric Holder nor Acting Attorney General Mark Filip were involved. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an internal investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility; my source would not confirm or deny that.
How does it feel, Vic? If you want to stick your nose into other peoples business don’t go fucking crying when other people stick theirs in yours, as it were. It seems a little…. hypocritical?
The Canadian public safety minister Vic Toews has called in the police to investigate threats made against him and his family in response to his internet privacy bill, which has also provoked a storm of online protest.
“Over the last few weeks I have been subjected to an extensive personal attack by my political opponents as a result of certain legislation that I have introduced in the House of Commons on behalf of the federal government,” he wrote in a widely-published letter to constituents. “These attacks, which have included criminal acts and threats of criminal acts against me and my family, have been referred to the police for investigation.”
On Tuesday Toews proposed the “Lawful Access Act” in the Canadian parliament, a bill that requires ISPs to install monitoring equipment for the police and to hand over identifying information and internet histories on customers without a warrant. The news of the bill hit Twitter immediately and less than two hours later the name of the bill was changed to “The Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.”
The bill faced fierce criticism from the opposition, with accusations of hypocrisy, since the government has also proposed a law to destroy gun ownership records on the basis of privacy. Liberal MP Sean Casey requested the computer and BlackBerry records of MPs as part of the debate. Toews defended the bill, telling an opposition MP, “He can either stand with us or with the child pornographers.”
The intrusive nature of the legislation, and Toews’ comments, also provoked a Twitter campaign dubbed #TellVicEverything, where Canadians would tweet random data about their lives, and #DontToewsMeBro, after the common internet meme. But someone posting as @vikileaks30 also began posting details of Toews expenses claims and rather messy divorce records, and the account soon had thousands of followers.
Toews acknowledged the attacks in his letter, saying they were from publicly available documents. The allegations covered his expenses claims and the ending of his 30 year marriage after a seven-year affair with the couple’s babysitter and the impregnation of a much younger woman who became his second wife.
“I will be fully accountable for any responsibility that I bear for the breakdown of my previous marriage but that accountability is not something I owe to the public generally or to my political opponents in particular. It is a personal accountability which I cannot avoid nor do I seek to do so,” he writes.
The IP address behind @vikileaks30 was traced to a user in the Canadian House of Commons by the Ottawa Citizen, and a parliamentary investigation has now been launched. Around 4,000 internet users use that IP address, but all major political parties have denied any involvement with the account. Shortly after the news broke the account was deleted, with the author denying being in Ottawa and said it was “shutting down before any other innocent people are targeted.”
Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird accused the main opposition New Democratic Party of being behind the smear campaign, and attacked them in parliament. “Not only have they stooped to the lowest of the lows, but they have been running this nasty Internet dirty-trick campaign with taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government appears to be back-pedaling on the bill itself. In an interview with CBC News Toews said that the government was open to debate and amendments on the legislation, and expressed surprise at some of the more intrusive parts of the bill.
“This is the first time that I’m hearing this somehow extends ordinary police emergency powers [to telecommunications]. In my opinion, it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t,” he said.