Police seek bigger picture in using drones but libertarians incensed

Tom Hyland

POLICE in Victoria are considering the use of drone surveillance aircraft, a move that has alarmed civil liberties advocates.

Other police agencies, including the Australian Federal Police are interested in the technology.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force was considering the ”potential operational use” of the unmanned aircraft, which can be fitted with high-definition cameras and sensors.

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The president of Liberty Victoria, Spencer Zifcak, said he was surprised to hear police were interested in using drones, warning they would significantly increase the potential for surveillance on political protests and private activities.

But Peggy MacTavish, the executive director of the Association for Unmanned Aerial Systems Australia, an industry-backed body, said technology for intruding on privacy already existed.

”Check out Google Earth, Google Maps, conventional aviation. This sort of activity had been going on for years,” she said.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/police-seek-bigger-picture-in-using-drones-but-libertarians-incensed-20120512-1yjgy.html#ixzz1ufeLYOJc