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Seattle police plan to deploy spy drones, FAA Releases Lists of Drone Certificates—Many Questions Left Unanswered


Protestors shouted down officers during the Seattle Police Department's presentation Thursday on the department's new unmanned aerial vehicle, or "drone."
The presentation was held at 6 p.m. at the Garfield Community Center at 2323 East Cherry Street in Seattle. Seattle police, who are drafting a policy on the use of drones, invited the public for their questions and feedback.
Protestors at the event shouted and often talked over police during the event.
"We say no to drones," one protestor said.
Another protestor said funds for the drone "could be used to fund more progressive projects in the community that have really nothing to do with violence and surveillance or these more negative aspects which are only bringing more negative qualities out of people in general."
The Seattle Police Department is one of 50 organizations authorized by the federal government to use the drones.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington called on the city of Seattle in April to develop clear and transparent policies for the use of aerial drones as a tool in law enforcement.
The ACLU-WA’s call for safeguards comes after the Electronic Frontier Foundation last week revealed that it had obtained documents showing the Seattle Police Department recently obtained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to use unmanned aerial drones.
President Obama signed a sweeping aviation bill in February that will open American airspace to "unmanned aircraft systems," more commonly known as drones. 
Prior to that, FAA approval for domestic drones required a lengthy authorization process.
In December, the national ACLU issued a report on domestic use of drones, “Protecting Privacy From Aerial Surveillance,” that warned our nation’s current privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values.   MORE from SOURCE

FAA Releases Lists of Drone Certificates—Many Questions Left Unanswered


This week the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally released its first round of records in response to EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for information on the agency's drone authorization program. The agency says the two lists it released include the names of all public and private entities that have applied for authorizations to fly drones domestically. These lists—which include the Certificates of Authorizations (COAs), issued to public entities like police departments, and the Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs), issued to private drone manufacturers—show for the first time who is authorized to fly drones in the United States.
Some of the entities on the COA list are unsurprising. For example, journalists have reported that Customs and Border Protection uses Predator drones to patrol the borders. It is also well known that DARPA and other branches of the military are authorized to fly drones in the US. However, this is the first time we have seen the broad and varied list of other authorized organizations, including universities, police departments, and small towns and counties across the United States. The COA list includes universities and colleges like Cornell, the University of ColoradoGeorgia Tech, and Eastern Gateway Community College, as well as police departments in North Little Rock, ArkansasArlington, TexasSeattle, WashingtonGadsden, Alabama; and Ogden, Utah, to name just a few. The COA list also includes small cities and counties like Otter Tail, Minnesota and Herington, Kansas. The Google map linked above plots out the locations we were able to determine from the lists, and is color coded by whether the authorizations are active, expired or disapproved. 




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