Home / News / Drone use by LA County Sheriff’s Department sparks probe amid privacy concerns

Drone use by LA County Sheriff’s Department sparks probe amid privacy concerns



Responding to concerns about the use of drones by law enforcement, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors asked the Inspector General’s office Tuesday to gather more information on unmanned aircrafts.

Supervisor Hilda Solis requested that the Inspector General’s office work with the county’s newly formed Civilian Oversight Commission, and share their findings. The goal is to provide the public with more transparency about the drone program, Solis said.

“In such circumstances, these devices can greatly aid law enforcement in protecting the public and deputies and their use deserves strong support,” according to her motion. “However, past experience has led to valid concern that the devices, sometimes called drones, can be used for more controversial purposes. Drones have been used to carry weapons by the military and so even the name is a matter of debate. Flying cameras, whether remotely controlled or not, have in the past been used for warrantless surveillance and sometimes without notice to the public.”

Last week, a group of protestors gathered to call on the prohibition of the use of drones by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The Drone-Free LASD/No Drones, LA! campaign was launched after the department announced earlier this month that drones would be used to help search and rescue operations, bomb detection, hazardous material spills and hostage situations.

In 2012, the Sheriff’s department used a small aircraft with surveillance equipment over the City of Compton without telling residents or the mayor there.

“Residents of Los Angeles vehemently reject the deployment of drones by LASD,” according to the Drone-Free group. “We believe the acquisition of drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued violations of human rights of our communities.”

Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a press conference that the Federal Aviation Administration approved the department’s use of the drone.

“I know people have concerns,” McDonnell said. “We will not be using it to spy on the public. The public will be able to easily identify the unmanned aircraft when it is deployed. It is clearly and brightly marked.”

The $10,000 remotely-controlled unit includes an on-board video camera.

“We are continuing to raise the bar as a leader in law enforcement and always looking for ways to do the job better,” McDonnell said. “This technology can assist us in reducing the impact of risks on personnel and allow us to perform operations to enhance public safety.”

Hamid Khan, a member of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, said his group has been able to stop the Los Angeles Police Department from acquiring drones.

“We believe the deployment of drones signify a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities,” he said during the protest.


Advertisement

The American Civil Liberties Union said on its website that while drones have many beneficial uses, “deployed without proper regulation, drones equipped with facial recognition software, infrared technology, and speakers capable of monitoring personal conversations would cause unprecedented invasions of our privacy rights.”


Article Source

About admin

Check Also

Drone stalking several women in rural Port Lincoln community part of growing list of UAV concerns

Updated November 02, 2017 18:25:42 Photo: One of the women who has seen the drone …

Govt issues draft rules for using drones in India

The aviation ministry had first issued guidelines for drones last year but they have not …