On the Site:

NATIONAL NEWS

New York police TO use drones to monitor backyard parties, spurring privacy concerns

Aug 31, 2023, 2:43 PM | Updated: 4:20 pm

FILE (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

NEW YORK (AP) — Those attending outdoor parties or barbecues in New York City this weekend may notice an uninvited guest looming over their festivities: a police surveillance drone.

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.

But as the technology proliferates, privacy advocates say regulations have not kept up, opening the door to intrusive surveillance that would be illegal if conducted by a human police officer.

“One of the biggest concerns with the rush to roll out new forms of aerial surveillance is how few protections we have against seeing these cameras aimed at our backyards or even our bedrooms,” said Albert Fox Cahn, the executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP).

The NYPD did not respond to an email seeking further information about its drone policies.

In response to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Mayor Adams shared a link to new guidelines that make it easier for private drone operators to fly in the city, but which do not address whether the NYPD has any policies for drone surveillance.

Around 1,400 police departments across the country are currently using drones in some form, according to a recent report from the American Civil Liberty Union. Under federal rules, they are generally limited to flying within the operator’s line of sight, though many departments have requested exemptions. The report predicted the use of drones was “poised to explode” among police departments.

Cahn, the privacy advocate, said city officials should be more transparent with the public about how police are currently using drones, with clear guardrails that prevent surveillance overreach in the future.

“Clearly, flying a drone over a backyard barbecue is a step too far for many New Yorkers,” Cahn said.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman speaks during a news conference about a man shot and killed b...

Steve Almasy and Cindy VonQuednow, CNN

Police from Ohio assisting with security at Republican National Convention fatally shoot man

Ohio police officers who were in Milwaukee to help with security at the Republican National Convention shot and killed a man Tuesday who local authorities said had knives in both hands and was trying to attack another man.

8 hours ago

The live snails were discovered by US Customs and Border Protection at Detroit Metropolitan Airport...

Lauren Rapp and Nic F. Anderson, CNN

90 giant African snails ‘intercepted’ at Detroit airport

For the second time in as many years, African snails have been confiscated from bags at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

9 hours ago

...

John Miller and Sabrina Shulman, CNN

Trump shooter requested Saturday off from work said he’d be back on Sunday, officials say

The shooter who attempted to assassinate former President Donald Trump on Saturday normally would have been at work that day, but he told his boss he needed that the day off because he had “something to do,” according to multiple law enforcement officials.

10 hours ago

Major changes are coming to the ACT college admissions exam in the spring, the CEO of ACT announced...

Nic F. Anderson and Jason Hanna, CNN

Changes coming to ACT exam, including the science portion being made optional

Major changes are coming to the ACT college admissions exam in the spring, the CEO of ACT announced Monday.

11 hours ago

Team USA climber Jesse Grupper getting a workout in Tuesday morning before traveling to compete in ...

Alex Cabrero

Ten days until Paris Opening Ceremony, USA Climbing ready to meet expectations

The United States is the only country to qualify a full team of eight climbers. USA climber Jesse Grupper and USA Climbing CEO Marc Norman said the team is eager and ready to meet high expectations.

12 hours ago

Confiscated guns are stored in the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in February 2015, in Minneapo...

Devan Cole, CNN

Minnesota ban on 18- to 20-year-olds obtaining handgun permits is unconstitutional, federal appeals court says

Minnesota’s ban on 18- to 20-year-olds obtaining a permit to publicly carry a handgun violates the US Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

New York police TO use drones to monitor backyard parties, spurring privacy concerns