Posts tagged FAA
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
The new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) drone authorization list obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit reveals more than 20 additional public entities allowed to fly drones over the United States.
This news comes as Charlottesville, Virginia passes a resolution banning drones, the entire state of Virginia might pass a drone moratorium, a Justice Department white paper was leaked outlining the supposed legal justification for the drone assassination program, the Obama administration is reportedly going to release legal memos to intelligence committees and the location of a CIA drone base in Saudi Arabia was revealed after two large media outlets withheld it at the government’s request.
This brings the total to 81 public entities authorized by the FAA to fly drones as of October 2012, according to the list obtained by the EFF. Keep in mind, documents obtained by the EFF reveal that drones are already flying over the United States.
Furthermore, we now know the military is operating drones domestically and sharing data with law enforcement, at least one National Guard unit uses drones, the Department of Homeland Security has embraced small spy drones and colleges and universities are offering more drone piloting programs to keep up with this drone boom.
End the Lie contacted the EFF’s media liaison by phone, confirming that this list is not merely applicants but indeed entities that have been authorized to fly drones over America.
Some of the newly approved agencies include the State Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and several sheriff’s departments including Canyon County Sheriff’s Office (Idaho), Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office (Northwest Oregon), Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department (North Dakota) and King County Sheriff’s Office (covering Seattle, Washington).
Another interesting new addition highlighted by the EFF is the Barona Band of Mission Indians Risk Management Office (near San Diego, California).
Interestingly, Ohio had several new entities approved, including the Medina County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Department of Transportation, Sinclair Community College and Lorain County Community College.
The concerns raised by this new list are legion. One of the most significant concerns is the privacy and civil liberties implications of domestic drone use, especially given the advances in drone technology.
Among the most worrisome advances are: the capability of potentially constant surveillance thanks to solar power and laser-based charging methods, drone-based facial recognition technology, automated tracking systems, a drone-based camera capable of capturing 36 square miles of imagery at once, ultra-stealthy drones and even fully automated weapons systems.
The EFF also points out, “Even the smallest drones can carry a host of surveillance equipment, from video cameras and thermal imaging to GPS tracking and cellphone eavesdropping tools. They can also be equipped with advanced forms of radar detection, license plate cameras, and facial recognition.”
The EFF hopes that the release of the new list will “spur more people to ask their local law enforcement agencies about their drone programs.”
Thanks to a partnership with MuckRock, it’s even easier to request this information from your local agencies.
The EFF is encouraging people to “ask hard questions of government officials about who is funding drone development in their communities and what policies the government will demand agencies follow if they fly drones.”
“We need greater transparency and citizen push-back to protect Americans from privacy-invasive domestic drone use,” the EFF concludes.
About Madison Ruppert
Madison Ruppert is a Los Angeles-based independent journalist and researcher as well as the founder, owner, administrator and editor of EndtheLie.com. He has no affiliations with any government agencies, political parties, non-governmental organizations, or economic schools. He is available for freelance writing assignments and appearances or interviews in any format. He can be reached by emailing Admin@EndtheLie.com
The Associated Press Posted: Jan 11, 2013 9:14 AM ET Last Updated: Jan 11, 2013 1:57 PM ET
The Federal Aviation Administration is undertaking a comprehensive review of the critical systems of Boeing’s 787s, the aircraft maker’s newest and most technologically advanced plane, after a fire and a fuel leak earlier this week.
The review will include the design, manufacture and assembly of those systems, the FAA said in a statement Friday. Officials plan to detail the review at a news conference Friday morning.
The FAA statement gave no indication that the agency intends to limit or prohibit the 787 from flying during the review.
The 787, which Boeing calls the “Dreamliner,” relies more than any other modern airliner on electrical signals to help power nearly everything the plane does.
It’s also the first Boeing plane to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which charge faster and can be moulded to space-saving shapes compared to other airplane batteries.
A Boeing official said the company is working with the FAA.
“We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said. “We are working with the FAA and our customers to ensure we thoroughly understand any introductory issues that arise. While we take each issue seriously, nothing we’ve seen in service causes us to doubt the capabilities of the airplane.”
A fire ignited Monday in the battery pack of an auxiliary power unit of a Japan Airlines 787 empty of passengers as the plane sat on the tarmac at Boston’s Logan International Airport. It took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze. Also this week, a fuel leak delayed a flight from Boston to Tokyo of another Japan Airlines 787.
On Friday, Japan’s All Nippon Airways reported two new cases of problems with the aircraft. ANA spokeswoman Ayumi Kunimatsu said a very small amount of oil was discovered leaking from the left engine of a 787 flight from southern Japan’s Miyazaki airport to Tokyo.
The jet returned to Miyazaki, but after checks found no safety risk it flew to Tokyo. ANA said on another flight, to Matsuyama on the island of Shikoku, glass in a cockpit window cracked and the aircraft was grounded for repairs.
Boeing has insisted that the 787′s problems are no worse than what it experienced when its 777 was new in the mid-1990s. That plane is now one of its top-sellers and is well-liked by airlines.
Republished with permission.
A newly-released internal investigation by the US Air Force has shown a plague of non-mission-related accidents involving drones in its foreign operations. Meanwhile, Washington is pushing ahead with plans to allow drones into US civil airspace.
The report shows Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) crashing consistently and unpredictably due to a wide array of failures from technical malfunction, to complications in dealing with air traffic controllers, to downright incompetence. The documents, obtained by the Washington Post, number several thousand pages, and show that at least seven drones have crashed near airports in the past two years.
One account from April describes a sub-contracted operator launching an $8.9 million MQ-9 Reaper from the runway at the Seychelles International Airport without getting the go-head from the control tower. The same operator then accidentally switched off the engine without noticing and then tried an emergency landing, but did not release the wheels.
The aircraft was a write-off. It was the second similar accident at the site in just five months.
“I will be blunt here. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,’ ” the report cites an Air Force official present at the scene as saying. He later adds, “You go, ‘How stupid are you?’”.
Congress has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to find a safe way to expand the use of drones in the U.S.
The fight to stop the government’s sweeping surveillance of emails and phone calls will go all the way to the Supreme Court. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the warrantless wiretapping provisions included under the FISA Amendment Acts.
The US House of Representative voted last week to reauthorize the 2008 amendments added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, that allow for blanketing surveillance and eavesdropping of any communication suspected to be sent outside of the United States. Under the FISA Amendment Act (FAA), the government is granted the power to peer into the inboxes of any American and listen in on long-distance calls without ever requiring a judge’s approval. Pending approval from the Senate, the FAA will be renewed this year and be left on the books for another five years. The American Civil Liberties Union is adamantly opposed, however, and has asked the highest court in America to intervene.
By Steve Watson
A data dump of government documents secured via the Freedom of Information Act shows that the roll out of domestic unmanned drones will, for the most part, be focused solely on the mass surveillance of the American people.
The documents, from the Federal Aviation Administration, were recently made public by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Among the documents are never-before-released Special Airworthiness Certificates (SACs) detailing which private companies have been granted permission to operate drones in US skies.
The EFF notes that the vast majority of drones are being used purely for surveillance purposes:
With some exceptions, drone flights in the U.S. have been all about developing and testing surveillance technology. TheNorth Little Rock Police Department, for instance, wrote that their SR30 helicopter-type drone “can carry day zoom cameras, infrared cameras, or both simultaneously.”
By Steve Watson
Government, Military To Fly Predator Drones Over North Dakota
Local pilots protest use of blinding lasers in their airspace
In conjunction with The Federal Aviation Administration, the Air National Guard plans to fly unmanned Predator aircraft over North Dakota and have them aim lasers at ground targets in the latest development in the ongoing mass expansion of the use of drones in US skies.
North Dakota news website INFORUM reports that the Air National Guard’s 119th Wing, based at Fargo’s Hector International Airport, will begin operating the drones by early October.
According to the report, the FAA has officially established eight blocks of restricted airspace over National Guard base Camp Grafton South near New Rockford. The airspace will be from 500 to 9,999 feet above sea level and commercial aircraft will be prohibited from using it.
The training will focus around target practice for laser-guided bombs and missiles. Targets will be located on small buildings or on the ground.
“People may hear airplanes flying above, but there will be no lights visible and no explosions,” Col. Rick Gibney commented.
By Joe Wright
The War on Drugs has been threatening the fundamental rights of ordinary Americans, and greatly impinging upon states rights, as agencies like the DEA continue to claim that their federal authority supersedes local decisions.
Despite protections afforded under the U.S. Constitution, the federal DEA has been trying to initiate a blanket sweep of all license plates traveling along Interstates 15 and 70 in Utah, with the intent to store the information in a centralized database.
Furthermore, as noted by the ACLU which attended a recent hearing about the rollout, this federal agency is employing a scanning technology called ALPR to collect data from “unspecified other sources and sharing it with over ten thousand law enforcement agencies around the nation.”
The deployment of any personal data collection technology by a federal agency carries with it additional responsibilities under the Privacy Act of 1974. For now, it appears that the DEA will be adhering to those guidelines after local resistance to the new initiative. Or, are they merely planning an end-run once they think people have forgotten about the issue?
The Privacy Act of 1974 requires any federal agency engaged in the collection of personal data to disclose to the American people exactly what will be collected, how it will be stored, and whether that information will be shared. It makes this quite clear under “conditions of disclosure”:
No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains.
This is followed by 12 conditions which enable an expansion of scope and function, but detail very specific controls and scenarios for establishing just cause and the accounting of any disclosure.
By Zaid Jilani
Warren Buffet is best known in political America for his advocacy for taxing the wealthy at a similar rate to the rest of Americans. President Obama crafted the “Buffet Rule” after the idea that it’s wrong, as Buffet frequently says, for a billionaire like him to pay a lower income tax rate than his secretary.
But the Wall Street Journal reports that Buffet’s NetJets — a private jet rental and ownership company that is owned by his Berkshire Hathaway — spent $1 million to lobby Congress to win a fee waiver from Congress.
Right now, the Federal Aviation Administration is funded partially by fees from airlines. Commercial airlines shoulder the largest portion of these fees. NetJets lobbied hard to change its classification to a noncommercial airline to avoid paying a larger bulk of fees.
The Wall Street Journal’s Brody Mullins estimates that NetJets and other private plane companies would save $83 million over four years thanks to this tax break. Watch Mullins explain how NetJets did it:
NetJets was also sued by the federal government recently for millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
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