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You just keep telling yourself it’s for your safety and that you’re still free.
Source: Daily Mail
Unmanned spy planes could soon be used to carry out covert surveillance on UK citizens, under controversial new Government plans.
The MoD is working with defence firm BAE Systems to make so-called UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) safe enough to be used to help police operations in the UK.
The sophisticated unmanned aircraft are able to get clear images of the ground even when flying at up to 50, 000 feet.
However, even though they are widely used by British troops in warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, until now they have not been cleared for use in civilian airspace.
The plan to use UAVs in Britain has worried civil liberties groups who say that they could be used to spy on innocent civilians.
Gareth Crossman, director of policy at the civil rights watchdog Liberty, told The Independent: ‘The question is not so much about the technology but what one does with it.
‘We have quite definite laws about where CCTV can be used but of course with UAVs you have much greater ability to gather material in private spaces and this would lead to concern.’
He added: ‘If they are used to simply hover to gain random information then that would obviously be a matter of worry and a civil liberty issue.’
If approved, UAVs could be for disaster relief, crowd control and anti-terror surveillance maritime searches as well as supporting Coastguard, police, fire and intelligence services, the committee heard.
The MPs’ report says the MoD is ‘closely involved with the development of procedures and regulations which allow UAVs to operate in national and Nato airspace.
‘But the committee indicates that the ministry should do more.’
It adds: ‘In the response to our report we expect the MoD to set out why it supports the Astraea programme only in an ‘observer role’ and its future plans with regard to this programme.’
The BAE project is known as Astraea, with the MoD only acting as observers, although other Government agencies have contributed funding.
It is looking to see how whether UAVs can be made safe and reliable enough to operate in UK airspace.
Another project called Astra – also involving BAE – is even developing technologies to take control out of the hands of air traffic controllers and effectively give the spy planes the ability to make their own decisions.
It always begins with an apparent air of innocence. Just observing, just preliminary, in theory. They do this to gauge public reaction to such plans. Once they realise the apathetic mindless population does nothing, they step it up. Textbook police state.
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