Tag Archives | drone

Calls for Action — Two Bills Now Propose to Block Warrantless Spying in California

Senate Bill 828 was introduced three weeks ago in an effort to prevent the National Security Agency from setting up shop in the State of California. The bill aims to forbid the State from providing material support – such as water and electricity – as well as barring public universities from NSA research and recruitment. Additionally, sanctions would be instituted to private corporations that might choose to aid the unlawful, federal spy agency.

“State-funded public resources should not be going toward aiding the NSA or any other federal agency from indiscriminate spying on its own citizens and gathering electronic or metadata that violates the Fourth Amendment,” explained Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) who, along with Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), introduced the Fourth Amendment Protection Act to prohibit any state support of the NSA.

Learn more about S.B. 828 here.

Take action on S.B. 828 here.

Assembly Bill 1327 was introduced nearly a year ago and has been slower at gaining general support. The bill would limit the use of drones by requiring a warrant prior to their use in all investigations. It would also provide parameters on the information gathered and prohibit weaponry from being added.

The drone bill also outlines certain instances when exceptions may have to be made such as imminent threats to life, hostage situations, search and rescue operations, and emergency situations such as traffic accidents and wild fires. Public agencies other than law enforcement could also use the technology in able “to achieve the core mission of the agency provided that the purpose is unrelated to the gathering of criminal intelligence.”

Learn more about A.B. 1327 here.

Take action on A.B.1327 here.


Posted by Oskar Mosco, Oakland, @CA10th


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Drone-helicopters in a sky near you

Point Mugu, California – At Naval Base Ventura County, an unmanned spy helicopter completed its maiden voyage the morning of October 31, 2013. The Fire Scout MQ-8C passed over Southern California coastline, demonstrated flight and tracking capabilities, and confirmed a new autonomic control system — meaning the drone flew itself.

The primary function of the Fire Scout fleet is surveillance. Its predecessor, the MQ-8B, has already been used to monitor opposition in Afghanistan and Libya, despite having crashed on several occasions and resulting in a temporary grounding last year. These Blackhawk-style flight vehicles require no human controller and are manufactured by military-industrial kingpin Northrop Grumman at a cost $15.3 million each. The Navy plans to purchase 145 over the next two years. While this represents less than 0.2% of the military’s annual budget, for the fourth-largest weapons manufacturer this deal represents roughly half of their annual profit.

Some features of the model include:

–          UHF/VHF voice communications relay

–          Electro-optical, infrared sensors

–          Laser designator for scanning and tracking targets

This flight test comes just weeks after another Northrop Grumman computer-navigated Navy drone aircraft, the X47-B, made news of its first flight. The X47-B resembles a smaller version of the B-2 stealth bomber and can fly round-trip across the country without landing.

Both types of drone are designed for surveillance and not combat, officials say. And while similar technology is already in use today aboard commercial airliner’s auto-pilot features, the continued funding of computer-controlled technology in our skies is a control shift: pilots replaced by drone operator replaced by computer.

Hours after the test flight, just 50 miles to the east, LAPD helicopters hovered over those reveling on All Hallow’s Eve. While attendees were fixated by stupor and suicide, the desensitization toward a rising surveillance state developed, soon to be managed entirely by computer application.

Oskar Mosco, CA-TAC

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