No drones in the sky - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

No drones in the sky

Cd'A resident asks city council to ban crafts from airspace

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Posted: Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - You've probably seen the Time magazine cover.

The front of the February issue shows an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle hovering over a suburban home, with the title of the lead story in big, bold print: RISE OF THE DRONES.

Inside, the article details how drones are being used more and more in everyday life: From military battlefields to real estate marketing.

But the cover alone was eye catching.

"I think the cover got a lot of people's attention," said Jared Festner, a Coeur d'Alene resident who wants the city, if not Idaho, to craft its own legislation seriously restricting drone use locally. "It does get the issue out there."

Idaho lawmakers are considering a bill that would let law enforcement and government agencies use drones to perform surveillance and investigate suspected illegal activity. It would also allow them for commercial photography but prohibit spying on neighbors.

Sen. Chuck Winder's bill was tabled as some questions on its legality came up.

But if the state doesn't act, Festner said, Coeur d'Alene should by being the first municipality to restrict drone use if state legislators don't.

Doing so would close loopholes on what should or shouldn't be allowed after President Barack Obama signed an aviation bill in 2012 requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to integrate drones into American airspace.

One benefit of drones is that investigators can increase surveillance with less manpower, just as the military can increase combat strikes without solders.

But the chief concern - and not just for Festner - is that it's too much surveillance: The potential abuse of power could make it easy to infringe on citizens' Fourth Amendment rights.

"I'm not saying right now they're going to start using drones to start killing American citizens," Festner said, of any local threat, referring to a leaked federal Justice Department memo that states American citizens can be the target of a drone strike abroad if they're seen as a threat against the nation. But "the reason you don't live in a house that's made out of glass is because you want privacy."

Thirty-two states introduced legislation on drone use this year, according to news reports.

Coeur d'Alene officials said they'll wait and see what the state does before siding one way or the other. Researching the pros and cons would have to be done, Mayor Sandi Bloem said, while other officials said the difficulty of enforcing a drone rule would likely make a city ordinance more of a ceremonial statement than a law meant to punish.

A flat out no-fly ordinance could be tough, others said, especially since real estate agents could use drones to capture properties for business. The Time article also described how hunters use them for hunting.

"We have no enforcement ability," said Dan Gookin, city councilman. "It would be a statement, but again, it would be a ceremonial thing."

The FAA controls the country's airspace. One thing cities can do is restrict their police departments from using them. The Seattle City Council, according to the Seattle Times, took up the issue recently.

But drones aren't in the budget for Coeur d'Alene's department, Gookin said, adding "I don't think it's an issue for us now."

Festner said his goal is to get the conversation started locally, which is why he spoke to the City Council about it last week. The 35-year-old North Idaho College student said he wants to see what the state does first, but a local rule would go far in showing that the city cares about its citizens' rights if the state doesn't act. He said he realizes it isn't an issue knocking on Coeur d'Alene's doorstep yet, but wants the city he loves living in to stay ahead of the pack.

"Stuff doesn't just happen," he said. "It takes someone to go up front."

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  • seth mois posted at 8:26 pm on Wed, Mar 20, 2013.

    seth mois Posts: 7

    Look at the hacked drone over Iranian airspace There's also the drone hacked by the team at the University of Texas and here

  • skunkworks posted at 6:18 pm on Wed, Mar 20, 2013.

    skunkworks Posts: 252

    Big drones actually crash a lot. Official statistics on large unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) accident rates vary, but drones are 30 to 300 times more likely to crash than small civil aircrafts, according to one estimate. According to a 2005 Department of Defense report, every 100,000 flight hours saw 191 AAI Shadow UAVs destroyed or in need of drastic repairs, compared to just four manned F-16s.

    Drones suffer from the usual aircraft mechanical and pilot failures, but they also grapple with uniquely drone-ish issues: They're harder to launch and land, and lost communication links pose a problem. But as drones spend more time aloft, operators and craft manufacturers have had a chance to find and iron out kinks in the machinery. Most drones today are of the larger military variety, but that'll change. In 2015, regulators will begin granting permits to a wider array of small drone operators in U.S. airspace. Fortunately, they'll have detailed obituaries of hundreds of lost UAVs to help inform their safety guidelines.

  • seth mois posted at 9:42 pm on Mon, Mar 18, 2013.

    seth mois Posts: 7

    Right. The sooner these things take to the skies, the sooner you watch all of your rights flushed down the toilet. If they can hit you from above, who's going to have the sack to speak out. Good job to this guy for speaking out for CDA.

  • The Simple Truth posted at 6:24 pm on Mon, Mar 18, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    Feel free to die and let the better people take over, k? No hurry, just do it relatively soon, old timer.

  • efromm posted at 5:35 pm on Mon, Mar 18, 2013.

    efromm Posts: 669

    But hey you got nothing to hide right? You won't mind these little cameras in your home. You won't mind the government looking through your emails. You have nothing to hide right? So you should be an open book for the government to look at. Come on folks it is for our own safety and the safety of others. Rights are just so old fashioned and out dated. Especially if you have nothing to hide....

  • JoeIdaho posted at 2:36 pm on Mon, Mar 18, 2013.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    BoxCar has it right.
    Stupid people don't deserve Freedom.
    And for you libs, you're just overall the biggest imbeciles on the planet; you are leeches that live off of society; and have no legitimate thought processes. the best part of you is when you don't think you're "part of the group" that's getting taken to the cleaners.
    Like Bill Maher.
    GUESS old Bill thinks big taxes just might BE a problem, no?

  • BoxcarBill posted at 8:18 pm on Sun, Mar 17, 2013.

    BoxcarBill Posts: 1074

    Drones are in the cards for a mind washed, complacent America, and rightly so. They will also protect us from terrorists by executing the citizens of their choice.
    Welcome to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Perhaps we deserve a taste of our own bs.
    Stupid people don't deserve freedom.

  • milburnschmidt posted at 11:45 am on Sun, Mar 17, 2013.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1161

    Certainly drones would be useful to police Dpts in hostage or barricaded suspect situations. To maintain drones to patrol over homes would certainly lead to misuse and a loss of privacy for those who value their privacy fence. Throwing in human nature it wouldnt be long before operators would be checking on their spouses or neighbors they had a grudge with or good old fashioned sun bsathers expecting privacy. Why not open all the phone lines and internet traffic to do good,.
    Most drones have limited flight time and short range and would only be good for short term survellance at public events to look for trouble.
    If the question is private use of drones the issue should be liability when control is lost or public safety threatened by irresponsible operators. New York airports recently had a problem in their airspace with drones can we afford to take chances with operators being responsible with a drone with limited vision. Real estate agents are doing fine with Google earth over head pictures of property every real estate office having a airforce is absurd.

  • The Simple Truth posted at 7:14 am on Sun, Mar 17, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    Not if the gun owners don their NRA-issued tin foil hats!

  • boohoo2U posted at 8:59 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    boohoo2U Posts: 406

    Humanist, better watch out for the drone hovering behind you with an A-D.
    You'd probably enjoy it like Cartman until the batteries ran out.

    I a good enough shot to take any down if any attempt to probe me.

  • seth mois posted at 2:45 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    seth mois Posts: 7

    here's how they're going to grab those guns

  • Triumph posted at 2:35 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    Triumph Posts: 557

    So is that a vote in support of the drones then Humanist?

  • Humanist posted at 1:10 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    Humanist Posts: 3038

    Better watch out or they'll send the drones to take away your guns.

  • seth mois posted at 10:24 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    seth mois Posts: 7

    remember that when when you see this coming down your street

  • BorneNIdaho posted at 9:56 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    BorneNIdaho Posts: 142

    This should be an issue the Sheriff and the people of the county should decide, if not the state!

  • Triumph posted at 9:01 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    Triumph Posts: 557

    No drones

  • The Simple Truth posted at 8:52 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    and no clowns

  • NoName posted at 8:37 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    NoName Posts: 253

    No drones.

  • ancientemplar posted at 7:45 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1176

    with $20,000,000 for a park, $30,000,000 for a waste water treatment plant, $2,000,000 for a ball park, $6,000,000 for a sports complex and most likely $5,000,000 in law suits and the city council is taking time to discuss black helicopters, I mean drones..........who's setting the agenda, Gridley?

  • The Simple Truth posted at 5:22 am on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    The Simple Truth Posts: 563

    more big government interference with the rights of the people to fly their drones - wanna bet the cops are exempted from this?

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