Tag Archives: drones

Journalism schools experiment with drones as newsgathering tools, but worry about privacy

By SB Anderson


Medill National Security Journalism Initiative

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, for commercial and law enforcement use in the United States is under increased scrutiny as the Federal Aviation Administration moves forward on implementing laws to regulate the technology. But the value of the small, relatively inexpensive surveillance technology has not escaped the notice of another group of potential users – journalists.

At least three journalism schools  are experimenting with small drones to determine their usefulness and practicality in newsgathering and storytelling. In addition, a few news organizations have also put some drones in the air, as did the Occupy protesters to monitor police action. And they are being used by Realtors and other commercial outlets as the FAA deliberates the safety and privacy regulations needed, which is to be completed by 2015 when wide-scale use is anticipated. A Congressional Research Service report estimated that the drone industry will reach about $89 billion in 10 years.

“There are a lot of arguments for why journalists might want to use UAVs to do journalism,” said Matt Waite, a journalism professor and director of the Drone Journalism Lab at the UN-L College of Journalism and Mass Communications.  … (Continue reading story on NationalSecurityZone.org)

Meet Shura, a city intentionally designed to thwart drones and surveillance

By SB Anderson

A law student who believes “architecture against drones is not just a science-fiction scenario but a contemporary imperative,” has put together some foundational thoughts and designs for how a city might be built to protect its citizens from drones and surveillance. 


               Depiction of drone-resistant city by Asher Kohn. 

“The successful check against the machines is not a daydream but an inevitability, and the quicker more creative solutions are proposed, the more likely such answers can be disseminated widely and kept from the patent-wieldinghands of some offshore-utopian type,” Kohn writes in his report on what he calls “Shura City.” 

The United States’ recent history with drone surveillance and attacks is the spark for Kohn’s thinking. “American jurisprudence is simply not capable of making clear, comforting, adjudications on drones and thesorts of crimes they have been created to deter.”  He calls his proposal “a setting-off point for discussions on proper defense and on what ‘proper defense’ might mean.” 

PopSci has a good summary of Shura’s seven key protective features, from its towers and “windcatchers” to “smart windows.”  And theatlanticcities.com has a takeout on Kohn’s thinking that is well worth a read. 

Homeland Security sued over data related to lending drones to local law enforcement agencies

By SB Anderson

In its lawsuit Wednesday over a FOIA request that has gone unanswered, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said “Americans deserve the full story” about how Customs and Border Protection is “expanding its surveillance work, flying Predator drone missions on behalf of a diverse group of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.”

EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch: “Drones are a powerful surveillance tool that can be used to gather extensive data about you and your activities. The public needs to know more about how and why these Predator drones are being used to watch U.S. citizens.”

EFF on Wednesday also sued the FAA, claiming it is “foot-dragging” is releasing data about public drone flights.

Full Story | The lawsuit (PDF) | Second suit filed against FAA over drones