Seattle Mayor: Fine, We Won't Use Drones
Outcry ends program before it begins
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2013 10:28 AM CST
In this Jan. 8, 2009, photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department, a small Draganflyer X6 drone is photographed during a test flight in Mesa County, Colo.   (AP Photo/Mesa County Sheriff's Unmanned Operations Team)

(Newser) – Bowing to a fierce public outcry, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn has decided to ground the city's plan for an unmanned drone program, reports Reuters. Seattle bought two Draganflyer X6 drones in 2010 using an $80,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security, and planned to use the miniature, 3.5-pound drones in missing person searches and some criminal investigations. Seattle was one of a select number of cities to get permission from the FAA to operate drones.

"Drones give law enforcement agencies unprecedented abilities to engage in surveillance and intrude on people's privacy," says an ACLU official, echoing some of the concerns that arose at public hearings on the matter. The drones can remain in flight for just 15 minutes at a time, but opponents say they still represented a major overreach. "We agreed that it was time to end the unmanned aerial vehicle program, so that SPD can focus its resources on public safety and the community building work that is the department's priority," said the mayor in a statement.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
1freeusa
Feb 9, 2013 6:30 AM CST
if you can defend yourself against intruders, will we be able to shoot down drones who fly over our houses and invade our privacy........better yet, will it be able to shoot back. now that the government has authorized the killing of U S citizens without due process.
Roger_NC28716
Feb 9, 2013 2:15 AM CST
Outlaw drones and only outlaws will own drones. The 24/7 drone is viable in the future. I would like the police to have a drone that knocks out the one peeking (or worse) in your window and regulations like handguns - now.
HMD-SMD-ITY
Feb 8, 2013 7:55 PM CST
Sorry Seattle residents, you are one of the test cities for the NSA testing of the new 13B pixel long duration stationary drone recon system. It gathers extreme high resolution video from a 25 square mile area and can stay aloft for 12 hours. Lets say a bank robbery happens in that time in the zone. It doesn't even need to know about the robbery. Cops simply call up the time of the robbery and zoom to the recorded memory file to the area around the bank. It can still see license plates and make out faces. It can track the escape path the robbers used. Lets say a kid went missing in the zone. Cops zoom into the home and see that the kid walked down the street to billy's house. They simply go to billy's home and find the kid eating mac and cheese and playing 3ds xl. A hut and run happens. The cops track the car that left the scene of the injury crash and find it behind a home 3 miles away. That's first coming to LA but Seattle is a test city.