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United States Privacy The Military

US Air Force Can 'Accidentally' Spy On American Citizens For 90 Days 200

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the never-leaving-the-house-again dept.
AstroPhilosopher writes "Researchers at the Federation of American Scientists have discovered documentation (PDF) that allows the military to keep footage from drones for up to 90 days to determine whether further investigation is warranted. Besides using footage from natural disasters and monitoring of domestic military bases, all that's truly required is for an operator to 'accidentally' have the camera running while flying."
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US Air Force Can 'Accidentally' Spy On American Citizens For 90 Days

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  • by colinrichardday (768814) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:06AM (#39942471)

    Are Americans going to tolerate this? Post 9/11, probably.

    • Wasn't that just accidentally hitting the buildings whilst flying?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      I'm having a hard time seeing what is wrong with this.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because American law enforcement is not a black or white thing. If they have "suspicion" they "detain" you. All of which is absolutely against the US Constitution, but the powermongers and heavy-handed thugs love beating on people and locking them up with NO trial and they do it anyway. Years later you have to prove yourself innocent, and then you might be let go but with no compensation and with a record. In other words, if those drones "see" something they're "suspicious" about, you're in deep doo-doo

        • by Jeng (926980)

          This ain't the cops, it's the air force, exactly how often is the air force accidentally spying on us?

          • exactly how often is the air force accidentally spying on us?

            Too damn much!

          • by Sir_Sri (199544)

            And if they are spying on you, even accidentally should they be allowed to immediately delete that information to hide the fact that they did it?

            One can argue over the figure of 90 days a lot. But the airforce will accidentally or incidentally spy on people. Even if you take as lawful* 'surveying a natural disaster' they could capture images on the periphery of a disaster area which could count as spying. There should be some sort of policy or procedure in place to know what was seen, by whom, when.

            *I ha

          • exactly how often is the air force accidentally spying on us?

            Sorry, citizen, that's classified.

      • by element-o.p. (939033) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @12:17PM (#39943547) Homepage
        The 4th Amendment says that "We, the People" are free from unreasonable search and seizure without due process. Spying can be construed to be a "search." Therefore, the U.S. government is not allowed to spy on it's own people without due process. However, the Air Force now has a loophole that says, if you just happen to have a drone in the air near (a) person(s) of interest, and if you accidentally had the camera running while the drone was in the air, and just coincidentally happen to catch footage of something "interesting," you can keep and inspect that footage for up to 90 days without providing the due process that is required by the Bill of Rights.

        In other words, they've just thrown out the protections afforded by the 4th Amendment (not that they've haven't already been watered down and defecated upon already with things like the Patriot Act, NSL's, NSA wiretapping and TSA, but I digress). It doesn't take much imagination to see how this could lead to all sorts of abuses.

        I rather suspect that it will become S.O.P. to fly drones with the cameras "accidentally" left on, if it isn't already.
        • I'm with Jeng on this one. I'm not sure your definition of "search" applies here. See this article [findlaw.com] for a better description. Note that it specifically addresses monitoring from the air

          Time and time again, the courts have ruled that if it's visible from a public (air)space, then you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, including from the air.

          So while I'd rather not have the situation in TFA, I'm having a hard time seeing what the problem is.

          • Time and time again, the courts have ruled that if it's visible from a public (air)space, then you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, including from the air.

            Yeah, just like the government can set up cameras everywhere in public places. I don't care what courts rule; it's nonsense.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        You must have forgotten your glasses then, or have never read the Constitution. The US military isn't supposed to police the citizenry.

        • by Jeng (926980)

          And if you were able to read the article you would realize that the military isn't policing the citizenry and won't be policing the citizenry.

          What isn't mentioned in the fear mongering story is that anyone responsible for the accidental surveillance would be court-marshaled.

          The Military takes your rights very seriously, it's law enforcement that shits on them.

        • by dwillden (521345)
          Umm there's nothing in the constitution about that. The prohibition on the military being involved in police/Law Enforcement functions is due to the Posse Comitatus Act of 1978. Prior to that act the military could and occasionally was used in LE functions. Note that act does NOT apply to the National Guard as those troops belong to their respective State, not to the Federal Government.
    • by geekmux (1040042) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:15AM (#39942615)

      Are Americans going to tolerate this? Post 9/11, probably.

      The only thing I find more disturbing than questioning if Americans are going to "tolerate" shit like this, is the grand delusion some people are under that Americans can actually do anything about it anymore.

      You act like We have a say. Wake up.

      • by Rob Kaper (5960)

        You act like We have a say. Wake up.

        There is no Berlin wall surrounding the USA. You are free to leave.

        Countries like mine (Netherlands) would be happy to have skilled workers from the western world.

        • You going to put up the money for me to break my lease, transport my furniture, new living situation, new job, etc?
          Moving is not free, if I got those offers outside the US, I'd accept them in a heartbeat.
          There's a reason our country does everything in their power to keep us all broke, the second I can afford to get out, I'm gone.
          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            So the sacrifice isn't worth it to you. That just says that you will, in fact, put up with the current amount of shit.

            Most likely there's some point at which it would be enough and you'd actually look into leaving - work out which places you can get a visa for, check job markets, arrange for shorter term leases, etc, etc.

            At some further point you might be willing to just abandon all your stuff, overstay a tourist visa somewhere or work illegally on a non-work visa.

            But clearly as of right now, you will put u

          • You going to put up the money for me to break my lease, transport my furniture, new living situation, new job, etc?

            Well, you get the job first. But relocation expenses for skilled workers are fairly common, even within the US.

            That said, I don't buy that we don't have a say. These types of things are happening because literally half the country is in favor of it. The conservatives (not the libertarian conservatives, the other guys) believe we need to take these actions in order to protect the country for terrorism. If you see something the government is doing which actually has negligible support among the population

          • by Sir_Sri (199544)

            If it's so bad sell your furniture and move the day your lease expires.

            But frankly, if you don't have the skills to get you a job that pays enough in the US that you can afford to leave, don't be hopeful about finding work (and therefore getting immigration) with the rest of us. Canada and Australia are tremendously fortunate we have oil and metals respectively, the Europeans are saddled with layers upon layers of political stupidity leading to tremendous economic uncertainty. The one things we all want a

        • by macson_g (1551397)
          That is except Central Europeans, no matter how 'western' and skilled they are.
          example: http://www.meldpuntmiddenenoosteuropeanen.nl/ [meldpuntmi...opeanen.nl]
        • by Sperbels (1008585)

          There is no Berlin wall surrounding the USA. You are free to leave. Countries like mine (Netherlands) would be happy to have skilled workers from the western world.

          One person leaving isn't an issue. Mass immigration/emigration is not well tolerated by anybody though...except certain countries that are looking for a cheap, non voting, slave workforce and those countries seem to be going to great lengths to ignore the problem.

        • by ewieling (90662)
          When GWB was re-elected I investigated both Canada and the Netherlands as places to move to.

          Unless you have a degree neither country wants you.
        • You can leave physically, but you are still a U.S. Citizen. You will pay U.S. taxes and
          are subject to all U.S. laws.

        • Some of us won't leave, like myself, but will try to change the system from within. What is really needed in the US is a very vocal minority or respectable people to flood members of the US House and Senate e-mail, phone, fax, and snail mail boxes with clear messages that these are things we do no want. The Occupy movement is to easily marginalized as being a bunch of young disaffected youths, while the tea party was marginalized as basically being a bunch of religious extremists or racists. It needs to be
        • The Ron Paul Revolution is well underway.

      • by Scarred Intellect (1648867) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:40AM (#39942979) Homepage Journal

        You act like We have a say. Wake up.

        We do. Voting.We got ourselves into this mess and we perpetuate it by voting for the same sort of morons over and over again. Purge the system. Vote every incumbent out. Never vote for politicians again, we don't need politicians in government, we need true leaders who understand industry.

        You're part of the problem with that attitude, that helpless, infantile view of not being able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, most of America shares that point of view, which is only a problem because most of America shares that point of view, which is only a problem because most of America shares that point of view...

        Do something. Write letters to your senators. To your congressman (and to be politically correct, to your congresswomen). Call them. Don't vote for the status quo. Let people know you are standing up for what is right. They just need to see someone doing something, because most of America is a flock of sheep. They don't know, nor care, about the issues plaguing their life because, like a poster said below, they can't be bothered, 'Dancing with the Stars' is on.

        Do something, and be public about it. Perhaps I have a naive point of view of it, but it's better than rolling over and giving up. At THAT point, you have lost everything. When you've given up, then all hope is lost. America hasn't given up, not quite yet.

        • we don't need politicians in government, we need true leaders who understand industry.

          Interesting. Can you name, say, three real people, that you consider to be "true leaders"?

          • Well I don't know that they understand industry, but I would off up Bernie Sanders, Dennis Kucinich, and Ron Paul as actual leaders. I may not agree with them but they have principals and do stand for something. Also none of them are my representative or senator.
        • by mmaniaci (1200061)

          ...we need true leaders who understand industry.

          So more industry shills... meet the new boss...

          Unfortunately, most of America shares that point of view, which is only a problem because most of America shares that point of view...

          That's because its usually the case. I can't even count the number of times I've called or emailed Feinstein, yet she's still off in her own world. I can count the number of times I voted for her: 0.

          Let people know you are standing up for what is right

          And they usually just pass us off as idealistic soapboxers. Try explaining net neutrality to any random person. They'll laugh you off the sidewalk and into the gutter with the anarchists and birthers before you get past "common carrier".

          Perhaps I have a naive point of view of it, but it's better than rolling over and giving up.

          INCREDIBLY naive. Money runs

          • Not more industry shills, not business leaders. Leaders of people, leaders that know the industries. Let's put Richard Stallman in the FCC. He's certainly not an industry shrill.

            Voting MAKES the difference. The electoral system is broken, certainly, but it isn't handled the way it was intended to. A simple majority popular vote in a state gets ALL the states electoral votes, that's not right.

            I've talked to several people about net neutrality. Afterward, they all understand it well enough to decide for t

        • We do. Voting.

          LMFAO. Stay the way you are, man. The rest us us will keep laughing. Its all part of the plan. Soo as the FFA allows drones anywhere those things will be 1984 helicopters, buzzing outside people's windows. You'll be able to turn the telescreen down, but never off.

        • You're part of the problem with that attitude, that helpless, infantile view of not being able to do anything about it.

          No, you're part of the problem trying to convince people that more of the same will somehow produce different results. Sure we can do something about it, but that process is likely to be very ugly for a long time and offers no guarantee of better results at the end. Your suggestions are pointless and you even acknowledge as much when you point out that most of America doesn't care.

          Unfortunately, most of America shares that point of view...most of America is a flock of sheep. They don't know, nor care, about the issues plaguing their life because, like a poster said below, they can't be bothered, 'Dancing with the Stars' is on.

          See? You have the puzzle pieces in your hand but you refuse to put them in place because you don't like the picture they make

        • by geekmux (1040042)

          You act like We have a say. Wake up.

          We do. Voting.We got ourselves into this mess and we perpetuate it by voting for the same sort of morons over and over again. Purge the system. Vote every incumbent out. Never vote for politicians again, we don't need politicians in government, we need true leaders who understand industry.

          You're part of the problem with that attitude, that helpless, infantile view of not being able to do anything about it. Unfortunately, most of America shares that point of view, which is only a problem because most of America shares that point of view, which is only a problem because most of America shares that point of view...

          Do something. Write letters to your senators. To your congressman (and to be politically correct, to your congresswomen). Call them. Don't vote for the status quo. Let people know you are standing up for what is right. They just need to see someone doing something, because most of America is a flock of sheep. They don't know, nor care, about the issues plaguing their life because, like a poster said below, they can't be bothered, 'Dancing with the Stars' is on.

          Do something, and be public about it. Perhaps I have a naive point of view of it, but it's better than rolling over and giving up. At THAT point, you have lost everything. When you've given up, then all hope is lost. America hasn't given up, not quite yet.

          Do something about it? Be public? Gee, the last time people got fed up writing letters and "went public" they were (and still are) labeled "domestic terrorists". Feel free to look up the recent laws passed surrounding that little badge of dishonor, and then talk to me about how vocal people should be.

          Voting doesn't do jack shit when you're doing nothing but voting for the lesser of two lying assholes, only for one of them to fill the position of head puppet who has no real power anyway. Any of the true

        • by Hatta (162192)

          You act like We have a say. Wake up.

          We do. Voting.

          Voting exists to placate us into believing we have a say. If voting could actually change anything it would be illegal.

          Do something. Write letters to your senators.

          Oh yeah. They just shake in their boots when they get a letter. Have you ever actually done this and gotten anything more than a form letter that says "your concerns are irrelevant, I will vote the way my masters dictate"?

          Do something, and be public about it. Perhaps I have a naive point of vi

        • by houghi (78078)

          We do. Voting.

          Should be modded +1 funny.

      • I agree completely. None of us voted on this. Other than living with it my choices are


        1. Say f*it and leave the country for some other slightly less Orwellian state. Considering that there are more government owned security cameras than people in the UK, it surely isn't there.

        2. Convince several million other like minded individuals to turn off American Idol and consider voting for a party that will revoke this stupid crap, which incidentally is neither Democrat or Republican.

        3. Join the NRA and wit
      • What's disturbing here is that people think that standard procedures designed to prevent unauthorized collection, and address it if it occurs, is really intended to be a secret way to constantly spy on Americans for no reason.

        Keep in mind that the courts have repeatedly upheld that visualization of a person or an exterior area from an aircraft does not constitute a search. Also, the exceptions here are for INTERNATIONAL terrorism and INTERNATIONAL narcotics trafficking, two things that have a very specific

        • People have these fears for precisely the reasons you specified.

          Because the courts repeatedly find in favor of the government regarding searches, expansion of authority, and general 'oops we sent a swat team to the wrong house but we thought it was the right house so we arent culpable for shooting you' cases.

          If the government was shown to actually respect the limitations on its authority, you would have a point.

          • But that's precisely the way our framework of law and judicial oversight works. A question arises over whether a government activity is appropriate, the courts — often many layers of courts — examine the activity, and decide one way or the other. The courts do not always side with government, as can be seen by the recent SCOTUS GPS ruling [wired.com] — and even that ruling some take issue with, because it doesn't speak explicitly to integrated GPS capabilities in vehicles. Technology is moving faster

    • by nrambo (2635589) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:21AM (#39942699)
      we cant be bothered with worrying about the violations of our civil liberties, 'dancing with the stars' is on...
      • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:53AM (#39943185)

        ...considering that the reason that mitigation and minimization procedures exist in the first place is to address and prevent abuse, or accidental or improper collection, not encourage it.

        I would also point out that the US has manned aircraft which fly over the US all the time, many with sophisticated ISR capabilities — and which have similar sets of processes to prevent improper uses.

        I would also point out that the military and intelligence agencies like the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency aid law enforcement and civil authorities all the time, e.g., for things like natural disasters and wildfires — this includes planes, space assets, and yes, even drones.

        The reason the procedures and processes discussed in this article exist in the first place is precisely to prevent unauthorized or improper use.
        The idea isn't to say, hey, everything is an "accident", so we will look at anything, all the time (as some people here will no doubt believe). The idea is that IF data on US Persons is obtained improperly, it should be deleted — unless it involves "persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities."

        In DOD-speak, INTERNATIONAL narcotics and terrorism means something very specific. It doesn't mean the Air Force or anyone else is going to blanket the US with drones, and use provisions designed to PREVENT improper activities as an excuse to "accidentally" spy on Americans.

        That people believe this is somehow a secret plot designed to let the Air Force, of all things, spy on Americans for no reason, is a very sad thing to me. This may come as a surprise to you, but many in the US military and the government actually take their obligations to the law, the Constitution, and to the people of the United States seriously.

        If your next question is, "If they take it seriously, they wouldn't be letting this happen!!" I would direct you to re-read my post more carefully.

      • by Anomalyst (742352)
        My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance.
    • by Moheeheeko (1682914) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:25AM (#39942755)
      You mean like Europeans tolerate cameras on every road?
    • by sl4shd0rk (755837)

      Are Americans going to tolerate this?

      Most will, yes.

  • by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:07AM (#39942483)

    They told me this would happen if I voted for John McCain for President. And they were right!

  • by jimmerz28 (1928616) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:09AM (#39942501)

    I guess I need to start having (gay) sex on my deck again.

    • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:28AM (#39942805) Homepage

      True story: I knew a guy who was married to his horse. Not legally, of course, but there was a ceremony and everything. He had a twelve-foot-high privacy fence around his backyard so that nobody would complain about his and his bride's consummations. Which, in Missouri in the 1980s, were perfectly legal.

      Except they lived near an Air Force base...and every so often a helicopter would fly low overhead, then stop right over his property. The pilot would watch for a while before flying off. There was nothing my friend could do about it (and nothing the Air Force could do to stop him, short of a missile strike), so he resigned himself to giving a free show two or three times a week.

      Curiosity is in our species' nature. If our government is given the ability to invade our privacy then they will use it, if only out of curiosity.

  • NIT (Score:5, Informative)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:12AM (#39942557)

    "Spy on American Citizens for 90 days" != "retain footage of American Citizens for 90 days"

    They can accidentally spy on you indefinitely, or rather, spontaneously whenever you might fall within the vantage of the camera. They can only keep the video for 90 days.

    • Re:NIT (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bob8766 (1075053) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:28AM (#39942799)
      Yeah, this would go over really well in court:

      Lawyer: So How did you obtain this footage?
      Drone Operator: We accidentally left the camera equipment on when we took off from American soil
      Lawyer: How many times has this happened?
      Drone Operator: Several, in fact I think it happens most times when we launch
      Lawyer: What disciplinary action have you received for leaving them on?
      Drone Operator: None. I think I read something once that says we aren't supposed to, but out commander tells us to do it anyway

      At this point it's pretty obvious that it wouldn't be a case of "accidental" espionage (Disclaimer: IANAL)
      • Re:NIT (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:47AM (#39943083)

        Yeah, this would go over really well in court:

        Lawyer: So How did you obtain this footage?

        Drone Operator: We accidentally left the camera equipment on when we took off from American soil

        Lawyer: How many times has this happened?

        DOD: We cannot divulge such information for national security reasons

        FTFY

  • There's an extent to which the bill of rights can't properly be applied in the modern world, and we've addressed that by allowing certain variations of things to be allowed(e.g. High yield explosives, and chemical weapons don't count as arms for the second amendment). We should rewrite the thing and actually put into the constitution the things we think are protected and the ones we don't.

    That's the only way this is getting better. And since Americans consider the constitution, and the bill of rights in p

    • by Tanktalus (794810)

      There's an extent to which the bill of rights can't properly be applied in the modern world, and we've addressed that by allowing certain variations of things to be allowed(e.g. High yield explosives, and chemical weapons don't count as arms for the second amendment). We should rewrite the thing and actually put into the constitution the things we think are protected and the ones we don't.

      It sounds like what you're saying is that if judges were given less lattitude to interpret things (you know, actually judging based on the constitution and laws as written), we'd find reason to fix those things. So, if judges were to claim that high yield explosives and chemical weapons were "arms" since they are used as such, overturning all sorts of laws in the process, the actual constitution would be open for update on a regular basis again?

      Sounds bloody. And sounds like a great idea. Except that we'

    • > We should rewrite the thing

      Are you kidding? Look at the state of American politics today. Do you REALLY think what you would get would be an improvement?

      > to be the divine word of god

      The fact is since 1787 every other democracy has been cribbing bits from it. None have made any real improvements.

    • by hierofalcon (1233282) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:40AM (#39942981)

      The founding fathers would have allowed the citizens to have Abrams tanks, F22 Raptors, or other modern weapons of war fully fueled and armed, parked at their farm or street if such technology had been available. They would have been fine with high yield explosives and any other weapons of war that were likely to be used against them by an enemy. Few could afford them today, but being permitted to have them was their clear intent. That's why they added the second amendment. Since a "militia" might be needed at any time to oppose foreign enemies or their own government (that inconvenient revolutionary war against their British government thing everyone forgets about in this day and age), the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

      They'd just fought that wonderful war that led to the creation of our country. Think they would have been successful if they were armed with bow and arrows and shotguns and the British had modern weapons as the hunting weapons only crowd would mandate today? Of course not. They wanted their citizens to be fully armed with modern weapons to keep the government in place and to be able to repel any invasion that might come up.

      Our creation of standing military forces wasn't in the plan, but even so, only might protect us against outside forces and not against the government itself. That is if they aren't all off on some foreign military base or doing some peace forcing action in a foreign country when the home turf gets attacked.

      • Ok guys, let's suggest a crowd funding project - how about we all pool our beer money and buy a small third world nation to hand over to the libertarians, right-to-bear-arm-nutters and all the other lovely people posting their brainfarts around here. Only condition - we get drone overflight rights to record a livestream of the hilarity than shall certainly ensue.
      • You seem to woefully underestimate the effectiveness of a modern hunting firearm. The cartridges they use are easily as powerful or more so than most military small arms (.30-06, .300 Win Mag, .270, .30-30, etc compared to standard US military 5.56x45) add in that most hunting rifles are more accurate than military firearms and that semi-automatic hunting rifles are fairly common (although bolt action is still probably more prevalent). Granted they wouldn't do much against tanks or aircraft, but look at the
    • by Hatta (162192)

      There's an extent to which the bill of rights can't properly be applied in the modern world

      No. The bill of rights can apply just fine to the modern world. They have simply chosen not to adhere to it.

  • of a spy drone that does not have the any spy equipment on and in which you cannot retain some of the footage?

  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:24AM (#39942735) Homepage

    If I'm in a public setting, I can pull out my camera and take a picture, "spying" on anything in its viewfinder. This is 100% legal. I can also "spy" by taking a photo out of an airplane. Police can do this as well. Out west, we have airplanes which monitor traffic to see if you are vastly exceeding the speed limit, being a "spy" to see how fast you are driving. They even post signs that they do this.

    It isn't strange that our military also has the authority to take footage. What is strange, and wonderful, is that our military removes this footage after 90 days. I have many pictures of all sorts of places, with images of fellow tourists accidentally being "spied" on in them. I am keeping these photos forever.

    (Note: YMMV. Certain conservative State legislatures are trying to make it illegal to record police, so as to allow the police to cover up any of their criminal acts; however I am confidant that these laws are destined to eventually be fully overturned by the courts.)

    I fail to see how this is in any way a terrible thing. The outside is a public setting. Always has been.

    • by garcia (6573)

      Because the military is not supposed to take action on citizens. We have other enforcement divisions tasked with that sort of thing.

      • by Jeng (926980)

        And what makes you think the Air Force is going to come to your door and arrest you?

        They would just hand the information to which ever law enforcement agency has jurisdiction and you would go though the regular courts.

    • by Mousit (646085) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:44AM (#39943049)

      .... It isn't strange that our military also has the authority to take footage. ....

      The reason why it's a notable thing is because the military, in fact, doesn't have the authority to take footage. Right at the top of the article (but this is Slashdot, so no one read it) it's pointed out that the military, like the CIA, is not supposed to perform surveillance of citizens on domestic soil.

      They're using weasel-words to try and loophole around that block, and it's this type of skirting action that should always be made public and pushed against. Checks and balances, watching the watchers, that sort of thing.

      • by thoth (7907)

        Checks and balances, watching the watchers, that sort of thing.

        The very fact this sort of thing is even public information or acknowledged indicates the check and balances system is working, at some level.
        You think the Russian or Chinese militaries have to deal with these sorts of questions?

        • by Mousit (646085)
          That was kind of my point, yes. The actual act of getting this disclosed is part of the process of checks and balances, not merely an indicator of it. It wasn't like the Air Force themselves made big of it; a professional had to pour through the reams of documentation and unearth it. Then they had to get it disseminated to the public. And now it can be (in my opinion, rightfully should be) contested.

          All of that has to happen before checks and balances is working.
  • by dwillden (521345) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:27AM (#39942795) Homepage
    This not some amazing new discovery. It's called Intel Oversight. All Military intelligence under under these same rules. We are allowed to collect only in accordance with an assigned mission. Said mission cannot be to simply go out and watch of follow or collect on random or even specific citizens. What is allowed is if during authorized collection we come across information about a possible US citizen we are allowed 90 days to review to determine if A: The person is indeed a US Person (legal status and yes US Corporations qualify and did before the famous court ruling that the /. crowd hates so much). And if so B: is there reason to collect and retain the info. This is usually a no but there are certain categories of activities that would allow collection to go forward and the information to be retained in official intelligence reporting.
    Now about applicability. In the US the military is required to assume, lacking other information to the contrary, that anyone we run across is a US Person and thus most likely cannot be collected on. So don't worry, they aren't going to start flying "accidently" across the states filming your backyard activities. We'll leave that to the Jackbooted thugs in the FBI and local PD's. Outside the US the view shifts 180 degrees and we are to assume, again until we get some evidence to the contrary, that any individual we run across is NOT a US Person. But should we collect info on someone and they then turn out to be a US person, we are again given the 90 Window to determine if they are in fact a US Person, and if they are engaged in one of the legally specified activities that allow or even mandate collection and reporting on them. Some examples of these categories would be anyone engaged in espionage for a foreign power, anyone actively involved with a declared terrorist group. (not just someone we think "looks like a terrorist."

    And regardless of whether they are involved in collectible activities or not any and all collection on US Persons is reported not just up the military channels but also the DoJ and the CIA. People do lose rank and intelligence positions over violation of the Intel Oversight rules. All military intelligence personnel are briefed on Intel Oversight at least annually.

    The poster of this story really has no idea what he's talking about. This is a non-story and it's really nothing new. And once again Wired tries to write about the Intelligence community possibly doing wrong but just proves how little their reporters actually understand things.

    But I'm sure the /. geniuses will let me know how wrong I am, even though they have zero experience with this realm.
  • Let loose the tin hat brigade

  • by Lashat (1041424) on Wednesday May 09, 2012 @11:29AM (#39942829)

    this is trivial and a non-issue. Why "accidently' leave the camera on and go off charter when this occurs
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/12/21/2037251/domestic-surveillance-drones-on-the-rise [slashdot.org]

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/01/24/0410221/domestic-use-of-aerial-drones-by-law-enforcement [slashdot.org]

    Even in UK.
    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/10/01/26/1645232/uk-police-plan-to-use-military-style-spy-drones [slashdot.org]

    Let me know when I can buy one at Toys R Us.

  • Say a military drone is tasked with border security. On the way to the border it is much safer if the pilot can see where he is going so has the cameras turned on. He happens to see a crime going on. What should the pilot do? Ignore it as he is not supposed to be watching Americans or report it and pass the recording on to the police?
    All video from a drone is saved. All this is doing is clarifying that video taken in the US must be destroyed after 90 days. Why 90 days? Maybe because it gives time for police

  • ...re: Taxes... I'd like to know who is.

  • ... where all those Hollywood sex tapes come from.

    Seriously, guys, you need to zoom in once in awhile and do a better editing job before dumping this stuff on the internet. Your production values are slipping...
  • I assume every person who joins the US military still has to swear an oath with a bit about 'protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic... immediately following that, are they then ordered to ignore it, or do they do that all on their own?

    Maybe the brass then just launch into the fate of Bradley Manning as a teachable moment...
  • Hey, I can spy on my neighbors to make sure they aren't terrorists either. But at some point, it's concluded that I'm a peeping tom, and I go to jail.

    Who is watching our watchers to make sure this isn't some very expensive kiddie porn ring, paid for with our tax dollars?

    How long before nude sunbathers show up on 4chan, posted videos from drones?

  • "I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

    That's in order of importance, ladies and gents; as the Fourth Amendment is part of the Constitution, our troops have a sworn duty to protect our right to be free from search (read: surveillance) first and foremost, regardless of who gave the order.

If you're not careful, you're going to catch something.

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