Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Good Article on Domestic Drones & 4th Amend.

This article is a good start.  However, we will proably have to wait for a U.S. Supreme Court decision to finally  settle this.


  1. I have listened some news that some countries are trying to use domestic drones for the crime control in the dangerous area.

  2. Aerial drones, like manned aircraft, video cameras and binoculars are passive public surveillance tools that don't infringe on people's fourth amendment rights against active intrusions. TSA's post 9/11 airport security, however, is an example of unreasonable search and seizure. In the latter case, it's always been aircrews' call to ensure safety of flight whatever the threat.

    The TSA not only violates people's 4th amendment rights, but makes it very difficult for aircrews to secure their aircraft.

  3. Thanks Molly & 44. Given the UK's obsession with video cameras in public places, I wouldn't be surprised if they were one of the countries using drones in high crime areas. It is only a matter of time till the U.S. does likewise. However,as 44 suggests, as long as the drones pick up only audio and video of things that occur in the open, there is, under current 4th Amend. law, no "search." This is because there is no intrusion into an area where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, if drones contain high-tech snooping wizardry (e.g. can "see through" the walls and roofs of homes, there is a problem, and a warrant would be required. I don't think that ordinary TSA screens at airports violate the 4th amend. Arguably, people consent to the screens by voluntarilypresenting themselves at the checkpoint. Further, arguably anti-terrorism security outweighs 4th amend. rights in that particular context. Finally, it can be argued that given past history and the current threats, people have no reasonable expectation of privacy there. Finally, polls show that most people accept (even if reluctantly) the reasonableness of standard TSA practices. Moving beyond civil liberties to the issue of Congressional power, because threats to interstate and international commerce are involved, the federal government has the power to do this. I have never seen a court decision striking down any of TSA's SOP's at airports. This is not to say that there are never any abuses of SOP's and no profiling, but those are topics for another day