Police drones and the Supreme Court’s online cases

Police drones and the Supreme Court’s online cases

Police drones and the Supreme Court's online cases

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In the skies above Chula Vista, Calif., where the police department runs a 10-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week drone program, it’s not uncommon to see an unmanned aerial vehicle swooping across the sky.


Chula Vista is one of twelve departments in the United States that operate what are called first responder drone programs, where drones are dispatched by pilots, who listen to live 911 calls and often arrive on first on the scene of accidents, emergencies and crimes, cameras in tow.

But many argue that police adoption of drones is happening too quickly. The use of drones as surveillance tools and first responders is a fundamental shift in policing without a well-informed public debate about privacy regulations, tactics and limits. There is also little evidence available of its effectiveness, with little evidence that drone policing reduces crime.

Now Chula Vista is being sued for spreading drone footage, illustrating how privacy and civil liberties groups are increasingly concerned that the technology will dramatically expand surveillance capabilities and lead to even more attacks. police interactions with demographics that have historically suffered from over-surveillance. Read the full story.

—Patrick Sisson

Four ways the Supreme Court could reshape the web

All eyes were on the United States Supreme Court last week as it weighed arguments in two cases relating to recommendation algorithms and content moderation, two essential elements of how the internet works. Although we won’t get a decision on either case for a few months, when we do, it could be a very big deal.


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