Surveillance Drones Over Santee?

The San Diego Sheriff Office looked into purchasing surveillance drones.

Last year, MuckRock and The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) received documents from a Freedom of Information Request that found that the San Diego Sheriff's Office (SDSO) was in communication with a drone manufacturer with the intention of purchasing surveillance drones. The information was received when the Seattle Police Department released 250 pages of email, internal memos, contracts, and sample sales quotes. One of the sample sales quotes was for SDSO [here is the sales quote]. The quote stated that the San Diego Sheriff's Office was looking into purchasing a Scout Air Reconnaissance System  from Datron World Communication, Inc., a company based in Vista, California. Datron representatives have told MuckRock that the SDSO had visited them and left with a thumb-drive full of information on their products. 

When MuckRock contacted the SDSO, on July 12, 2012  they said that they had no documents regarding Drones. It wasn't until months later, and persistence from MuckRock, that they finally admitted that they did, in fact, look into getting drones. However, for unnamed reasons, they did not purchase them just yet. 

The fact that Police Departments across the nation are looking into, purchasing, and using drones brings up real concerns for private citizens and their valuable civil liberties. On June 12th of 2012, Senator Rand Paul introduced the bill, "Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012." The bill said, with exceptions, that, "a person or entity acting under the authority, or funded in whole or in part by, the Government of the United States shall not use a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant that satisfies the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States." On his website, Senator Paul said that "Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics."

Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano spoke out against domestic drones on his show and stated that "The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.”  He has also written articles for Reason Magazine and LewRockwell.com.

Not everyone is against the domestic use of surveillance drones. The San Diego Free Press reported that local congressmen Rep. Duncan Hunter and Rep Darrell Issa have gotten more than $200,000 from drone firms.

We already have security cameras all over the streets watching our every move. Leaked Stratfor emails released by the whitsleblowing group Wikileaks and allegedly provided by hacker Jeremy Hammond, have revealed a nationwide widespread surveillance system, which is provided  by a private company, called TrapWire. Southern California is also a testing ground for facial recognition software developed by FaceFirst. RT reported that an unnamed San Diego law enforcement agency is using the technology.

Are you, a tax paying, law abiding citizen, willing to allow the San Diego Sheriff's Department to unconstitutionally spy on you with domestic  drones? How much longer will it be before police drones are weaponized? Let me remind you of something Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who trade freedom for security end up with neither."

Please leave your comments below on whether or not you support domestic surveillance drones in the City of Santee and the rest of the nation.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

PwmCwzy January 30, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I guess you don't think that between banks, credit card companies, cell phones, GPS, security cameras, library cards, etc., etc., etc., people don't know what you are doing? I would rather have drones overhead than the constant touch and go antics from Gillespie.
Ken January 30, 2013 at 11:06 PM
All of those things you just mention AND surveillance drones are all part of the problem at is the growing surveillance state in this country! The Patriot Act, NDAA, SOPA/PIPA (which were thankfully defeated!!!). All of that needs to be stopped so we can restore the unalienable rights in the Bill of Rights. The government doesn't need to know my every move. That TrapWire thing from the article is scary!! That is completely unAmerican. It's shocking that people are OK with just giving their right away!! The planes from Gillespie are private planes and have nothing to do with drones.
Alan Stuart February 03, 2013 at 07:33 AM
Thank you everyone for your comments. As you can see in the article I have included many links to various things on he internt. I just wanted to share a few more links about this topic. 1. Vice's Motherboard had a piece called Drone On: http://www.vice.com/en_uk/motherboard/drone-on-motherboard It includes many visits to local San Diego drone companies including Datron. You can see the lead in the video actually spend time at Datron and fly the same drone the SDPO looked into. 2. PBS's NOVA had a show about drones, this is a clip: http://video.pbs.org/video/2325492143/ If you end up watching the entire show remember they get a lot of funding from Lockhead Martin, a company that does manufacture drones and has financial benefits to gain from an expanded drone program. 3. RT has a piece claiming that other media has downplayed the significance of TrapWire: http://rt.com/usa/news/trapwire-surveillance-abraxas-times-671/ It includes links to the articles against RT's coverage of TrapWire as well as the rebuttal. The San Diego based company Cubic is also mention because they own the company that developed TrapWire. 4. Lastly I wanted to share an interview with a NSA whistle-blower on Democracy Now!: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/20/exclusive_national_security_agency_whistleblower_williamhe talks about the growing surveillance state in the USA more here too: http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/23/more_secrets_on_growing_state_surveillance
Mary February 09, 2013 at 04:50 PM
“The new list reveals 81 entities that have applied for permission to fly drones in U.S. airspace… Seventeen police departments and sheriff's offices across the country have also filed, among them are stations in Little Rock, Ark., Gadsden, Ala., Miami, Fla., Ogden, Utah, and Seattle, Wash.” Per: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/08/drone-list-domestic-police-law-enforcement-surveillance_n_2647530.html?utm_source=Alert-comment&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Email%2BNotifications
James Thomas February 09, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Thanks Alan for all the info. I hope the General Public will finally recongnize that we don't want these in our neighbor invading our privacy.


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