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IPFS News Link • New York

New York police will use drones to monitor backyard parties this weekend, spurring privacy concerns


The New York City police department plans to pilot the unmanned aircrafts in response to complaints about large gatherings, including private events, over Labor Day weekend, officials announced Thursday.

"If a caller states there's a large crowd, a large party in a backyard, we're going to be utilizing our assets to go up and go check on the party," Kaz Daughtry, the assistant NYPD Commissioner, said at a press conference.

The plan drew immediate backlash from privacy and civil liberties advocates, raising questions about whether such drone use violated existing laws for police surveillance

"It's a troubling announcement and it flies in the face of the POST Act," said Daniel Schwarz, a privacy and technology strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, referring to a 2020 city law that requires the NYPD to disclose its surveillance tactics. "Deploying drones in this way is a sci-fi inspired scenario."

The move was announced during a security briefing focused on J'ouvert, an annual Caribbean festival marking the end of slavery that brings thousands of revelers and a heavy police presence to the streets of Brooklyn. Daughtry said the drones would respond to "non-priority and priority calls" beyond the parade route.

Like many cities, New York is increasingly relying on drones for policing purposes. Data maintained by the city shows the police department has used drones for public safety or emergency purposes 124 times this year, up from just four times in all of 2022. They were spotted in the skies after a parking garage collapse earlier this year and when a giveaway event devolved into teenage mayhem.

Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, has said he wants to see police further embrace the "endless" potential of drones, citing Israel's use of the technology as a blueprint after visiting the country last week.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by PureTrust
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Good business opportunity here. Selling lasers and particularly masers that can shoot the drones down. MASER - Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Where can you find a simple maser? In your microwave oven. Simply take the working microwave 'gun' out of a microwave oven, wrap some aluminum flashing around it to protect yourself from microwaves - leave a hole in the front for the MWs to get out, add a source of power, and turn it on, directing it at the drones. BE CAREFUL, YOU CAN BURN OR BLIND PEOPLE, OR WORSE, IF YOU AIM IT AT THEM. You might want to make it portable by adding a battery pack and transformer unit. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK.