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Comment Re:the main legit use i can see (Score 1) 265

Why is this a problem? You can't file a flight plan electronically?

And get the FAA to respond with your waiver in under 5 minutes? The point of these flights is the under-30-minute delivery. That includes handling the transaction, picking the product at the warehouse, getting it on board and in the air and several miles away. The FAA isn't built for waiving NFZ rules in minutes.

Regardless, you're ignoring the whole no-BLOS part of their regs. They require a certified PIC and a spotter with eyes on the vehicle the whole time. It's taken them years to decide about THOSE rules. Deciding to waive them will take years more if ever.

Comment NSL = for things that DO NOT require a warrant (Score 1, Troll) 69

Note what this (or any) NSL does not request, for good or ill given the explosion in digital communications since Smith v Maryland in 1979 and subsequent case law (which effectively says that metadata, as "business records" provided to a third party, do not have an expectation of privacy and are not covered by the Fourth Amendment): CONTENT of communications.

Note what is also missing here: the target. People assume it's an innocent US Person. The fact is, if a NSL is used, the person is almost certainly a foreign intelligence target under active investigation, and the reason why requests are "dropped" is because IF a NSL was used in the first place, we don't want to reveal any further sources, methods, or what we know.

Unless and until the Supreme Court of the United States speaks on this matter again -- and it very well may, and it very well may rule differently given how the communications landscape has changed in 35+ years -- that is the law of the land. Not peoples' opinions, not tech commentator know-it-alls, not self-proclaimed security experts.

If something doesn't legally require a warrant, it amounts to a formal request. I'm not saying it's always perfect execution, but the whole purpose of a NSL is so that it runs through its own legal process -- which, again, is for information that does NOT require a warrant. I know people think it has no oversight, but either something requires judicial oversight, or it doesn't. And NSLs DO have massive amounts of LEGAL oversight, just not a warrant signed by a judge -- repeating myself here -- because one isn't required for information sought by a NSL.

And like information that we seek under Intelligence Community authorities, we don't want the target of the collection or surveillance knowing we are targeting them, or where, or how. Yeah, it sucks, and it's imperfect, and all that, but even in a democratic society, you can't just say every single national security or intelligence issue has to be in the open. That's not how even democratic societies work, or can work, or should work, when it comes to national security matters. Some things tilt too far in one direction based on national events, or politics, etc. Then they tilt back. It's never fast enough for proponents or critics.

The main issue is that people say that something like a NSL is "bad" because it doesn't have judicial oversight in the form of a warrant. If the information sought doesn't legally require a warrant, I don't know what to tell them. Then when we do actual court orders and warrants when required for foreign intelligence collection, issued by the very court whose sole purpose is to protect the rights of Americans under the law and Constitution in the context of foreign intelligence collection, they complain because the evidence is heard and rulings are issued in secret.

A NSL at its core is nothing more than a formal process and notification, with a lot of other legal considerations surrounding it, that is the equivalent of someone saying, "Hey, can you help us out...and oh, by the way, here's a bunch of other legal crap which justifies this. And don't tell anyone, because this is a national security issue." I understand why people make an issue of it, because they'll say, ok, even if it's used for all "bad guys" it still "could be abused". Uh, and? Any government power at all "can be abused". Secret ones "can be abused" in secret.

And yet, the government still has to have powers, and some of them on the national security and intelligence side are necessarily cloaked in secrecy. And in the conduct of war, diplomacy, law enforcement, and counterterrorism as the United States, with our myriad interests at home and abroad, we do all of these things for a reason. No, it's never perfect, and it never will be. People act surprised when the use of something like NSLs skyrockets since the late 90s...well, guess what else skyrocketed since the late 90s? The goddamned internet, which we invented, and our enemies are literally using it against us. No, not bullshit like tweets and Facebook pages; adversaries using the internet for no-shit coordination, collaboration, and C2. AND intentionally using US systems and services because they know that it's a legal rat's nest for us to get to them there, even if they're non-US Persons outside the US.

So anyway, yeah, it sucks, but the general attitude most people in the national security and intelligence communities are operating under is we had better be using the full extent of the capabilities afforded to us under the law, and we don't make the law.

The other issue, speaking broadly, is that sometimes the target itself is not subject to Constitutional protections at all, because the target is a non-US Person outside the US, and it is absurd to argue that if said target's communications touches the US in any way, suddenly it should be subject to Constitutional and warrant protections, because warrantless efforts to obtain it otherwise "could be abused".

SCOTUS can either speak to it, or Congress can pass a law. My own PERSONAL opinion, in a vacuum, and absent everything else I know, is that metadata should be protected -- because of 1.) the explosion in digital communication and the internet in the ensuing decades, combined with 2.) government's ability to exploit large amounts of collected data because of advancements in technology.

I would point out that even though portions of the statute with regard to NSLs have been found unconstitutional, it has only been about the gag order and length of time, not the use of a NSL, which is essentially a formal letter.

The issue of who the Constitution protects and where has many different arguments, but in a traditional law enforcement/intelligence/national security context, generally we see it as protecting either 1.) US Persons (be they citizens, permanent residents, lawful visitors, groups of the above, etc.) or 2.) people IN the US, no matter who they are.

The FISA Amendments Act shifted this a bit due to the reality that over 70% of international internet traffic touches the US somehow, by design or incidentally, and we had an absurd situation where both ends of a conversation would be AQAP members outside the US, who are not US citizens, and have never been in the US, who we suddenly can't collect on, even with capabilities outside the US, because one of them is using Hotmail.

If Constitutional protections applied to everyone, everywhere, my view is that the concept of borders and nation-states is meaningless, and it also destroys foreign intelligence collection -- and I mean Destroys. That said, we can certainly argue that we want to follow Constitutional *principles*, and aside from things people want to cherry pick that they don't like, I would say that, generally speaking, we do that.

Comment Re:Noise pollution (Score 1) 265

If you were handy, we'd do a little test. I'll take four different size multi-rotors up to 400' when you're not looking, and then we'll see how well you can tell where they are, which direction they're going, or if you can even hear them at all.

Then, I'll bring one in for a quick vertical landing at the same time a UPS diesel panel truck rolls up next to you to make a delivery, and you can tell me where the drone is, using only your ears.

You're speaking without experience, or deliberately trolling.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 1) 265

The massive amount of people killed each year

You mean the number that is far lower than the number of people killed through preventable accidents in hospitals? Or in car accidents? That sort of thing? The number that's been going steadily down for 30 years? The number half of which are suicides? The murders that are highly concentrated in just a handful of some sections of some urban areas that also feature high numbers of knifings, beatings, and other kinds of murders? Take those few urban areas (run, every one of them, for decades by progressive lefty legislatures/councils and executives) out of stats, and the murder rate in general (to say nothing of those that happened to involve the use of a firearm) are below 16 other modern western democracies including in Europe. In other words, "Americans" don't want to shoot anything/everything, but there are some urban areas in the US where politcal correctness and lefty politics have cultivated acute local crime problems. These are also the areas with the most draconian gun control laws, of course.

If you think your guns let you defend yourself against the government, you really need some help.

Which comment of mine are you replying to, exactly? Please be specific.

Comment Re:Trees and powerlines? (Score 1) 265

Not counting your airport problem, it's quite possible that properties like yours will simply be on the "Sorry, we can't deliver to your address by this mechanism" list. That's going to be true of millions and millions of residences. Probably MOST residences. This will be more useful for exurbs, and for deliveries to places like corporate office parks, hospitals, or other spots that might need rush deliveries and have more reliably plausible LZs. Logistics are likely to be case by case.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 1) 265

Because drones flying over your house are an invasion of privacy

Actually no, no they're not. You might have an argument if the machine is being operated literally feet above your house, or below your treetops. But traversing the airspace above your house isn't any more invasion of your property than is driving by it with a car. Do you feel that your privacy is being invaded when a traffic reporting Cessna flies over? No? Why not? Be specific.

Comment Re:Americans...why ? (Score 1) 265

Why do Americans want to shoot anything/everything ?

No, the question is why does everyone else feel the need to keep that meme alive? Is it to make themselves feel better about having given away their own ability to defend themselves? There are plenty of places around the world where people go and spend an hour on the trap and skeet ranges. It's like bowling or golf. Why do all of the Germans, Swedes, French, Italians, Japanese, British, Russian, Brazilian, Spanish, Chinese, Australian, Latvian, and everyone else who do that want to shoot everything? Or is that maybe not really a reasonable characterization, as it turns out?

Comment Re:the main legit use i can see (Score 1) 265

Really? How do you use an airport in a no-fly zone?

Don't be an idiot. You know perfectly well what the GP is referring to. The FAA says no UAS activity within 5 miles of an airport. To the extent that one can make advance arrangements - including special permission, a filed flight plan, etc - per flight, you might be able to get away with that. That completely rules out on-demand delivery services like those being discussed. In every practical sense, that makes the five miles surrounding airports UAS delivery NFZ's. The entire DC metro area and many other spots are also completely, permanently off limits.

"Of course power tools and alcohol don't mix. Everyone knows power tools aren't soluble in alcohol..." -- Crazy Nigel