Police Use of Drones Leads to Arrest of North Dakota Farmer

From a Minneapolis Star-Tribune account last week:

…a Predator drone led to the arrests of farmer Rodney Brossart and five members of his family last year after a dispute over a neighbor’s six lost cows on his property escalated into a 16-hour standoff with police.

It is one of the first reported cases in the nation where an unmanned drone was used to assist in the arrest of a U.S. citizen on his own property…

Many more cases are likely to follow, in areas that include drug enforcement, child welfare and environmental regulation. Warns the ACLU in a report issued in December:

All the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial surveillance in American life – a development that would profoundly change the character of public life in the United States.

Lots of money is being made from drone (UAV) operations already, and those who are dubious about the privacy and Constitutional aspect of the trend can expect to run into comebacks like the following:

“If you’re concerned about it, maybe there’s a reason we should be flying over you, right?” said Douglas McDonald, the company’s director of special operations and president of a local chapter of the unmanned vehicle trade group.

Read the whole thing. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Related on the surveillance state here. Cato Unbound published a symposium on drones in January which included discussion of their domestic implications.