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Two Birds With One Stone: The Consequences of Ubiquitous Government Drone Surveillance on the First and Fourth Amendments

Two Birds With One Stone: The Consequences of Ubiquitous Government Drone Surveillance on the First and Fourth Amendments

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Published by medialawguy
Paper by Justin Hosman for Professor Randy Dryer's Spring 2014 Information Privacy Law course
Paper by Justin Hosman for Professor Randy Dryer's Spring 2014 Information Privacy Law course

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Published by: medialawguy on May 06, 2014
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05/06/2014

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Two Birds With One Stone, The Consequences of Ubiquitous Government Drone Surveillance on the 1st and 4th Amendments
 
Author: Justin Hosman
 
Date: April 19, 2014
 
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Synopsis:
Emerging technologies in drone surveillance create unique philosophical and legal decisions about 4th and 1st Amendment protections. This paper discusses the issues inherent in surveillance, how drones magnify those issues, and what can be done to mitigate the potential harms to privacy and freedom of speech.
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Introduction
 
The world has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of Drones, or unmanned aircraft, over the past decade. What was once the substance of science fiction books and movies has sprung to life in the form of flight capable robots that are warfare, law enforcement, and surveillance ready. The earliest conception of a drone started in Austria. Austria tried to bombard Italy by floating bomb carrying balloons over the enemy lines into Venice. Many other countries tried similar tactics. Rudimentary
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1
 Remote Piloted Aerial Vehicles : An Anthology, http://www.ctie.monash.edu/hargrave/ 
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rpav_home.html#Beginnings
 
balloons were followed by the invention of radio control technology. In 1897 Ernst Wilson was given a patent for wirelessly controlled torpedoes.
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The U.S. government uses drones in many contexts; the military, law enforcement, and the CIA. Unmanned ariel vehicles, or UAVs, were first used to spy on
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the Soviet Union and were heavily used in Vietnam for intelligence gathering purposes.
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Many of the UAV’s were shot down, but they were used to minimize the loss of pilots on dangerous missions. Cruise missiles became another form of drone because they are navigated remotely into their targets. The US also used surveillance drones in Afghanistan as early as the year 2000. New innovations in the military’s surveillance capability are completely staggering. The ARGUS (Autonomous Real-Time Ground
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Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System) is a drone that is equipped with a camera capable of tracking specific object movement over a 36 square mile area!
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As technology has advanced the price of drone technology has dramatically decreased and drones have become a consumer item and are being used for photography, video production, recreation, and inspection. Some drones are small enough to navigate through the inside of a house with precision and can still be 2
 Benjamin Franklin Miessner, Radiodynamics: The Wireless Control of Torpedoes and Other
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Mechanisms 83 (New York, D. Van Nostrand company, 1916) Kimberly Dvorak, Homeland Security increasingly lending drones to local police, Washington Times,
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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/10/homeland-security-increasingly-loaning-drones-to-l/  Ian G. R. Shaw, The Rise of the Predator Empire: Tracing the History of U.S. Drones, Understanding
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Empire, http://understandingempire.wordpress.com/2-0-a-brief-history-of-u-s-drones/  Argus Panoptes is a hundred-eyed giant found in Homer’s Iliad. He is the inspiration for Bentham’s
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Panopticon and apparently the military’s ARGUS. Ryan Gallagher, Could the Pentagon’s 1.8 Gigapixel Drone Camera Be Used for Domestic
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Surveillance?, Slate, http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/02/06/ argus_is_could_the_pentagon_s_1_8_gigapixel_drone_camera_be_used_for_domestic.html
 
equipped with sensory equipment. Other drones are being acclaimed for their ability to
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stay airborne for very long periods of time, including drones that can theoretically stay airborne for years at a time. Amazon, the massive online marketplace, is currently
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trying to find a way to implement drones in the way they deliver products to their customers. There are even some private companies that have equipped consumer
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drones with the ability to fire a taser at a target.
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All of this drone use and emerging drone technology begs the question of how this new technology will be used domestically for law enforcement purposes. Can it be used domestically and for law enforcement purposes at all? And if it can be used, under what circumstances will it be allowed? Drones bring up many privacy issues that force us to reevaluate our understanding of 4th Amendment protections. What is a reasonable search when a constant surveillance would effectively result in a perpetual search? Additionally, the cost-effective nature of drones brings up questions about the ubiquity of surveillance and how that will effect 1st Amendment protections. Does a citizen feel comfortable speaking freely about his government when he is concerned that he could be watched at all times? These questions of privacy and constitutional protections become especially acute when it comes to the government’s plans using these drones 3
 Think Geek, This tiny robotic dragonfly drone only costs $119, http://www.geek.com/news/this-tiny-
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robotic-dragonfly-drone-only-costs-119-1533241/  Popular Science, A Solar-Powered Drone Designed to Fly for Five Years Nonstop, http:// 
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www.popsci.com/article/technology/solar-powered-drone-designed-fly-five-years-nonstop Amazon, Amazon Prime Air, http://www.amazon.com/b?node=8037720011
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 Kyle Chayka, Watch this Drone Taser a Guy Until He Collapses, Time, http://time.com/19929/watch-
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this-drone-taser-a-guy-until-he-collapses/ 

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