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Will Toys-R-Us Carry Spy Drones?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the when-alabama-gets-the-bomb dept.

Privacy 189

First time accepted submitter TomOfAmalfi writes "People are concerned about government use of domestic surveillance drones, but how is that different than what happens when people make their own drones, or buy them at a toy store? These units don't have the endurance or performance of the 'professional' models, but they can be useful and will get better. I can hear the police now when they realize the protesters are tracking them with toys."

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189 comments

Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436086)

Heli w both video and still camera for ~$99 - didn't note what it's performance range was, though.

Hmm - hover around the apartments on the corner and watch babes!

Re:Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (0)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436150)

Heli w both video and still camera for ~$99 - didn't note what it's performance range was, though.

Hmm - hover around the apartments on the corner and watch babes!

Yeah, or get one of the little jobbies and put a Hero cam on it and you've got live short of family members who are taking a shower, but not smart enough to lock the door.

Re:Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (1, Insightful)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437414)

Inb4 CIA's "We'd never suspect that": C4+remote detonator.

Re:Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436526)

More like "hover around your neighbourhood, get photographic evidence on neighbours and blackmail them for vacation money".

You know, mundane stuff like cheating, watching porn, maybe even following the political party that isn't accepted in the neighbourhood and then threaten with anonymous exposure.

Re:Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (1)

Drencrom (689725) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436554)

Just like blue thunder!

Re:Seen at Fry's (or is that Spy's?) (2)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437242)

Do you remember the caption at the beginning of that movie? IIRC, it was something like, "The weapons and systems depicted in this movie are real and in use today." At the time, I was like, "Yeah, right" but middle-class hobbyists today have access to surveillance equipment that is every bit as good -- if not better -- than the surveillance equipment on Blue Thunder, and they are just about as quiet as . 'Course, I've yet to see a DIY Drone [diydrones.com] that carries a gun like Blue Thunder had ;)

dEer Snata.. (-1, Offtopic)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436098)

I wanna X15 ana Sputnik ana Apollo ana GI Joe ana Six Finger ana Sniper Action Set ana Vogon Constructor Fleet ana International Spy Ring ana Election ana ...

Tell me, what really isn't something suitable for Christmas? With kids growing up with Online Games and The Internet the parental filter of old (sugar coating everything) isn't going to work anymore. Kids will (and likely are and have been for some time) exposed to realities of the world. Al Jazeera was showing the heads blown off children, thanks the Shock and Awe. What could be more shocking? Duggar's last attempt? Cue: Brave New World.

Re:dEer Snata.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436196)

You are completely incoherent, you know that?

Re:dEer Snata.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436364)

If you read his post above, he's also trying to film his family members in the shower. It's possible he has some mental issues...

Re:dEer Snata.. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436468)

Some?

Re:dEer Snata.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436648)

Or mebbe its jest that his sister is HOT!!!!!OMG!!!!

well duh (1, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436112)

An AR drone, a smart phone or tablet, a car battery and 500' of cable can be had for less than $1000 and give you a couple hours of continous run time.

You can do it now if you want.

Re:well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436200)

Do you understand that the ar drone has a hight above ground limitation ? like 20 or 30 feet or something.

Re:well duh (1)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436266)

It still mostly works, it's only the hold position feature that stops working.

Re:well duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436508)

I think you are confused.

The postion hold is video based .. Similar to your generic optical mouse.

The alt is limited by the ultrasonic sensor. They are not related.

While in theory you could modify it to fly higher. Its not designed to.

Re:well duh (2)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436950)

It still mostly works, it's only the hold position feature that stops working.

Then you're holding it wrong.

Re:well duh (3, Insightful)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436374)

Car batteries are Lead-acid. In case you missed Elementary Elements 101 then i can reveal to you that lead is heavy as fuck, as such car batteries have abysmal energy to weight ratio.
Lithium polymer is where the money's at, but you'll still be hard pressed to achive hour long flight times. Some bird-wannabe thermal updraft gliders that can run motor on low or no could probably achive it on a good day, but if you're looking at helicopter/quadcopter style craft you'll probably not get much more than ~10 minutes with a decent one.
There are of course fast charge batteries that you can forcefeed at ~10A or more(and drain at ~60), so with a handfull of spare batteries to keep charging while you're out flying you could probably manage to get quite decent total uptime.

Re:well duh (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436398)

I see now that you mention cable. Well enjoy your slow as fuck drone with a 5 meter flight celing. Also enjoy riot cops homing in on your headquarters like a swarm of angry bees.

Re:well duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436870)

I think the idea is the battery/wire, while an anchor and easy to track, can be carefully placed somewhere remote leaving you to be able to fly for hours albeit, within the radius of the wireless receiver and only as high as the rotors can carry a camera, wireless receiver/transmitter, and an wire weight based on the height being flown. If someone tracks the cable they find the car battery, not the operator.

This isn't exactly how I would operate. I would launch a camera, have it fly to a perch and disengage the rotors. Unless you're flying on the other side of a thick window someone is going to hear your rotor noise. If you're following someone in a crowd (tracking a cop for some reason) then I can believe they won't hear the rotors if there's a good distance maintained and following from the back.

Re:well duh (0)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436894)

And we see that you respond with venom before reading the actual post and well before assimilating the content. Well done. People like you make the rest of us look better.

Barney Spy Drones (4, Interesting)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436120)

Yep, Barney, or Barbie Spy Drones. Can't wait.

But seriously, tech can be used for good and bad, and while it can be used by the police, it's apparent that the same tech can be used by people also. I'm sure they will scream and bitch, but will the make it illegal for civilians to use?

Re:Barney Spy Drones (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436224)

Of course not. They would never make tech that police are using illegal for civilians. Like wiretapping, or guns. Just never... The problem for them is that this is much easier to make at home than a gun. (Although, guns are surprisingly easy to make, and if not rifled, they are legal in the US)

Now I know I am on some watch list...

Re:Barney Spy Drones (5, Informative)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436464)

Actually, you can make a rifle, pistol, shotgun, doesn't matter. As long as you don't violate teh NFA (no full auto, gotta get the tax stamp for SBR/SBS/AOW) you are good. And since the receiver (serial numbered part) is the "gun" by fed definition, that is all you need to make - slap a parts kit on it and you are done. Just can't make 'em for resale... Do a google for "80% receiver"

Re:Barney Spy Drones (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436426)

I can just imagine someone getting watchlisted over that...

Re:Barney Spy Drones (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436436)

They already put hidden cameras in teddy bears.

Re:Barney Spy Drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436674)

Yep, Barney, or Barbie Spy Drones. Can't wait.

This year's hot new toy: Hang Glider Barbie. With boob-cam!

Re:Barney Spy Drones (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437040)

Only the toys r us in iran will carry spy drones. Sorry.

In Finland... (1)

Picardo85 (1408929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436122)

you can buy them at almost every other electronics store. A google search for Parrot RC drones will give you tons of hits for places where you can buy them.

Why is it that Paparazzi are so intrusive then? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436130)

Couldn't they just have a fleet of RC flying blimps to take their pictures?

Re:Why is it that Paparazzi are so intrusive then? (3, Informative)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437368)

Right now, it's illegal (per FAA regs) to use drones for commercial purposes. There [businessinsider.com] are [dailytech.com] reports [huffingtonpost.com] that someone has tried it anyway, but those who don't wish to draw the FAA's ire are waiting until the regs describing how and where drones can be used for commercial uses are finalized (expected some time in 2012, although that may be delayed with the recent arrest and subsequent resignation [washingtonpost.com] of Randy Babbit).

ffs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436136)

It doesnt exatctly beat a Predator drone that can shoot real bullets and missiles at you.

Re:ffs (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436562)

Most of the real predators don't shoot missiles, and none shoot bullets. Too heavy. The real killers are significantly heavier drones like reapers, specifically designed as weapon platforms.

Of course, there are also ground versions of the drones, and those can come with machineguns. But these aren't very popular (yet).

Already started... sort of (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436160)

Hot Wheels now makes a toy car that you can drive around and record video. It's only a matter of time before they (or another company) expands into video remote controlled planes. I'd love to fly an RC plane around a local park with my kids and then offload the video to show them what it looked like from the plane's point of view.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436216)

Some guy strapped a camera to his cat a while back. That's a solution if you can figure out how to train the cat.

Re:Already started... sort of (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436498)

Let's hope Visual Kitty works better than Acoustic Kitty did in the 60's. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_Kitty [wikipedia.org]

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436708)

LOL ...

The first cat mission was eavesdropping on two men in a park outside the Soviet compound on Wisconsin Avenue in Washington, D.C. The cat was released nearby, but was hit and killed by a taxi almost immediately. Subsequent tests also failed

That is truly hilarious.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

Translation Error (1176675) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437170)

The actual product from ToysRUs will be Visual Hello Kitty.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436250)

The local 'liquidation store' was advertising an RC helicopter with video camera for about $50 on the front of their latest flyer.

Re:Already started... sort of (4, Informative)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437578)

I've got a Hawkeye Heli, which is probably similar to the one you saw (if it's not the same thing). It's fine indoors, but not so great outside. First, the RC controls operate via infrared LEDs. In the sunlight, the transmitter is swamped by the sun, making the heli uncontrollable (basically, it will climb to about 20-30 feet, spinning at ~60rpm the whole time, then cut the engine and plummet to the ground). Second, it's so light -- and only marginally stable -- that if there is even the slightest breeze, it's again uncontrollable. Third, the range is extremely limited, like 50 feet or less. Finally, the camera is rather poor. The frame rate is so low that the video blurs every time you yaw the heli, and in a year of playing with the heli, I can count on one hand the number of still photos that weren't blurred beyond recognition. It's a fun toy, but not something that is actually useful for anything. If you want a real covert surveillance platform, you'll need to spend at least an order of magnitude more.

If I get a chance, I'll post some video from the heli on youtube and link to it here.

Re:Already started... sort of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436324)

So .. go to your local hobby store .. and tell the man behind the counter what you want to do.

I am sure you could walk out of the store with everything you need to make your last sentence a reality.

Heck , you could even go to your local target or walmart and get a toy heli version .. Airhogs hawk eye is one of the simple easy to fly versions.

Re:Already started... sort of (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436372)

Don't fly in parks.

There are "park flier" models that would be suitable for flying in a large and empty double soccer field sized space. However, adding cameras and other equipment can easily double the weight, which affects the flying safety.

Responsible helicopter and airplane modelers go to reserved land areas to do their flying. There are serious injuries due to blunt force and propeller slicing every year. Deaths and permanent disfigurements are not unheard of. When these injuries happen to non-participants, it just invites tougher laws against unlicensed hobby flying.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437332)

I have a neighbor about 5 houses down who flies his model airplane around the neighborhood. It's not a small one either. Wingspan is about the width of a car, and he lands it on the road. I also don't live in the middle of nowhere. It's a residential neighborhood in the suburbs. No tall buildings around, but there's houses everywhere. The police have given him quite a few citations from what I have heard, but I'm not sure what they can do about it.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436448)

Umm...
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/rc_video_cameras_363_ctg.htm [hobby-lobby.com]
People have been doing it for years. I think the first RC airplane I saw with a "movie" camera was in Model Aircraft News around 1975. I was pretty young but if I remember it was a pusher with a twin boom tail with the Horizontal stabilizer carried on the tops of the vertical stabilizers.
With the low cost electric foam aircraft available today along with cheap small digital video cameras it has become very common.
Today you can add a camera to a plane with duct tape if you want.

Re:Already started... sort of (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437446)

I had Christmas with my family this past weekend. My brother had gone to Walmart upon arriving in town and purchased an RC helicopter with a video camera. It wasn't a live stream but it did record. The only problem was it was cheap and had died before I even arrived. He took it back and traded it for one that was essentially laser tag between it and a ground based AAA turret.

In Maryland you will be arrested (5, Informative)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436172)

If you filmed a policeman raping a women with your cellphone, they would arrest you.
http://www.pixiq.com/article/maryland-police-once-again-use-wiretapping-laws-to-crack-down-on-videographers [pixiq.com]

Re:In Maryland you will be arrested (5, Funny)

batquux (323697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436264)

Well if he was using your cellphone to rape her, I can see why they might want to question you.

Re:In Maryland you will be arrested (2)

Bardwick (696376) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436298)

Not anymore. Several court cases completely shot this down. Some cops in isolated areas might not have gotten the message yet. About a half dozen people have been "charged" with it, but no one that I know was convicted. From your own link: “Cell phones are so pervasive,” the prosecutor said, “that recording something that occurs in public raises a question of whether or not it’s unlawful. If I’m convinced this was a public encounter that just happened to be recorded, I probably will not proceed with the prosecution. The facts will probably bear out that it was not a private one-on-one conversation.”

Re:In Maryland you will be arrested (2)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436596)

Not anymore. Several court cases completely shot this down. Some cops in isolated areas might not have gotten the message yet. About a half dozen people have been "charged" with it, but no one that I know was convicted.

They get the message, they just don't care. They'll arrest you, take your stuff, let you spend time in jail, and then maybe you'll be found not guilty. Nothing will happen to the cop. Until such deliberate abuse of laws is punished by the cop being taken out back of the courthouse and hanged on the spot, they will continue.

Re:In Maryland you will be arrested (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437178)

And most likely your stuff will already be sold before the case is settled, and you'll have to sue the new owner to get it back (at which point he's out the money he spent to buy it, and you've both wasted money paying lawyers). Several years ago NORML found that half the property confiscated in drug busts being sold by police didn't even belong to anyone charged with a crime. (Don't know if that's still the situation, but I'd be surprised to find that it's changed.)

Re:In Maryland you will be arrested (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437206)

This is an unreasonable generalization.

See, what actually happened is that one person was arrested for videoing police as they were conducting field interviews. It's unreasonable to infer from that case that any person who videotapes a police officer would necessarily be arrested. It's quite unreasonable to infer that a person who videotapes a police officer committing a felony would be prosecuted.

Of course, if a policeman was actually raping someone, they're probably a dangerous enough individual that if they caught you videotaping them, arrest is just about the best thing that could happen to you.

You know a technology has matured... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436198)

...when they start using it in toys.

Night vision goggles, wireless surveillance cameras, and now spy drones, all available at your local toy store.

In Soviet America Toys Watch You! (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436784)

Fry's Electronics in Phoenix this morning had a camera mounted on a helicopter buzzing through the store. The big flat-screen next to the 'ad' board was quite discombobulating to watch...

As long as the drones are as large as this ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436252)

As long as the drones are as large as this, you can still be suspicious why that toy helicopter is hovering in front of your window all the time, and close the curtains. Things get interesting if they ever get small enough to remain essentially unnoticed. Especially if you can steer them through an open window in the third floor into a room at a time when no one is in there (it flying in may be noticed even if it is very small, e.g. due to the noise it makes), and then just have it sitting somewhere where no one notices to spy on you.

In that case, I guess fly screens will get much more popular. :-)

The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436268)

The difference between civilians having spy drones and law enforcement having spy drones is that law enforcement has the right to enforce the law, with physical force, and not be punished (unless obviously excessive). Civilians, on the other hand, are "vigilantes."

Re:The difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436570)

The difference between civilians having spy drones and law enforcement having spy drones is that law enforcement has the right to enforce the law, with physical force, and not be punished (unless obviously excessive). Civilians, on the other hand, are "vigilantes."

Yeah, for example they have to enforce the law that the only position you may have sex in is the missionary position. So don't complain about the police spy drone in your bedroom. :-)

Re:The difference (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437450)

The difference between civilians having spy drones and law enforcement having spy drones is that law enforcement has the right to enforce the law, with physical force, and not be punished (unless obviously excessive). Civilians, on the other hand, are "vigilantes."

Yeah, for example they have to enforce the law that the only position you may have sex in is the missionary position. So don't complain about the police spy drone in your bedroom. :-)

It came in through the Windows?

Not to worry. (4, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436276)

Only a terrorist would spy on police with a toy UAV. And thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, any such terrorist can be detained by the military indefinitely and without trial, even if a US citizen arrested on US soil. That should teach them, right?

Re:Not to worry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436606)

That's not good enough! We need legislation allowing the use of armed UAVs against these homegrown terrorists. If those protesters on Wall Street get too uppity, a Hellfire missile or two ought to teach 'em.

(Hey! That guy over there is lugging an RPG. Or it could be a camera. Who cares. ENGAGE!)

Re:Not to worry. (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437246)

That's not good enough! We need legislation allowing the use of armed UAVs against these homegrown terrorists.

Why? "We" have already used drones to kill U.S. citizens [slate.com] more than once [outsidethebeltway.com] . The government is already operating well outside the law.

Re:Not to worry. (2, Interesting)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436654)

Only a terrorist would spy on police with a toy UAV. And thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, any such terrorist can be detained by the military indefinitely and without trial, even if a US citizen arrested on US soil. That should teach them, right?

The NDAA says nothing about whether its detention provisions apply to U.S. citizens. And by that, I mean it explicitly says nothing:

Section 1021(e). AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.

Note there may be some ambiguity about whether this provision applies to all U.S. citizens or only U.S. citizens captured or arrested in the U.S. Link. [lawfareblog.com] I tend to think it covers all U.S. citizens, all lawful resident aliens of the U.S., and all people captured or arrested in the U.S. Regardless, though, it's clear that any power the government has to detain U.S. citizens arrested on U.S. soil is NOT "thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." If such power exists, it existed before the NDAA.

The Supreme Court has not definitively settled the issue. In Hamdi it ruled that authorization to use military force grants power to detain citizens captured on a foreign battlefield. Padilla, which dealt with a U.S. citizen captured in the U.S., was resolved by his indictment and conviction before the Supreme Court can rule on the issue. Thus, whether the government can detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil is unsettled as a national question.

There are plenty of reasons to think the NDAA bad. When attacking the law, we should focus on what it does, not what it explicitly states it does not do. Expanding the detention power with respect to tcitizens captured on U.S. soil is one of the things it does not do.

Re:Not to worry. (1)

FutureDomain (1073116) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436946)

The Supreme Court has not definitively settled the issue. In Hamdi it ruled that authorization to use military force grants power to detain citizens captured on a foreign battlefield. Padilla, which dealt with a U.S. citizen captured in the U.S., was resolved by his indictment and conviction before the Supreme Court can rule on the issue. Thus, whether the government can detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil is unsettled as a national question.

Don't worry. President Gingrich will happily ignore the decision [mediaite.com] and detain them anyways!

Re:Not to worry. (1)

PseudonymousCoward (161283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437010)

When toys are outlawed, only outlaws will have toys.

Re:Not to worry. (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437152)

Really? Modding my explanation about the NDAA offtopic, but not the inaccurate post I responded to?

Re:Not to worry. (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436966)

even if a US citizen

Even? You do realize that when US detains non-US citizen and keeps him or her without pressing charges, it is illegal under international laws and treaties. These laws apply to all signatories and not just to 'non-US stuff'.

Re:Not to worry. (1)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437124)

Nonesense. International law absolutely contemplates detaining people without pressing charges. For example, that's what a prisoner of war is (and yes, I know the Guantanamo detainees are not classified as POWs by the U.S. government - that's not the only kind of detention contemplated by international law, just the one everyone knows about). Now, it may be that a particular instance of detention is contrary to international law, and I am not in this post speaking to questions of whether Guantanamo detention comports with international law. But much more is needed to answer the question "Is this particular instance of detention in compliance with international law?" than knowing whether criminal charges have been pressed.

Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436320)

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/11/17/warsaw-protester-launches-drone-to-spy-on-police/

Re:Already done (4, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436686)

In Soviet Russia, citizens spy on police!

if i could buy one i would (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436404)

a nice little wireless helicopter with a camera on it, i would buzz my neighborhood, what a great way to keep an eye out for crime, (i bet neighborhood watch programs would love those things)

Re:if i could buy one i would (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436712)

Helicopters take a LOT of practice before you become proficient in flying them and it takes your full attention to flying, not sight-seeing. Also just as importantly, they can only fly for about five to ten minutes before needing to come down to refuel or swap batteries.

Re:if i could buy one i would (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436904)

Not with added stabilization electronics such as those found in quadcopters (because they NEED electronic stabilization to fly at all...)

Toys for the big boys (4, Informative)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436412)

DIY drones [diydrones.com] I have seen video from there of sub $1000 UAVs that will follow a GPS controlled flight path, stop at waypoints and take video towards the desired direction. What else do you want?

Re:Toys for the big boys (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436662)

DIY drones [diydrones.com] I have seen video from there of sub $1000 UAVs that will follow a GPS controlled flight path, stop at waypoints and take video towards the desired direction. What else do you want?

lasers and of course, Air to Surface missiles.

Time to add that to Santa's list.

Re:Toys for the big boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436664)

Remote control for firing bottle rockets (hey, we're to cheap to afford missiles with this build).

The Toys R Us in Germany has a cam-copter for kids (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436430)

. . . indoor only . . . playback via USB on a compter . . .

. . . or how about this one . . . http://www.pearl.de/a-NC1871-5955.shtml [pearl.de]

. . . or disguised at a pen in you shirt pocket (very nerdy) . . . http://www.pearl.de/search.jsp?query_type=1&wtype=1&query=kugelschreiber+kamera&newff.x=10&newff.y=4 [pearl.de]

. . . and they have plenty of other cameras for businesses wanting to catch employee thieves . . .

Re:The Toys R Us in Germany has a cam-copter for k (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437546)

There were some people where I work toying around with the idea of putting those pen-cams on sharks to find out what they are doing out at the 'white shark cafe'. Toys and science, the best of bedfellows.

Blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436478)

If the government used spy drones to keep tabs on its own civilians, it would represent a government's inability to maintain a healthy state of authority, leadership, and also priority; it would also represent a deterioration of the civilians' morals, after all, why would a government body have reason to do such a thing to begin with? I understand the comic relief one resorts to when trying to either deflect or mock our government, but being completely serious, we all know that they have reasons for doing things that they do. Anymore, we have mothers killing their own children, teachers having sex with students, terrorists trying to blow things up, espionage scandals, etc., etc., etc. The list is way too vast to really bring up but definitely merits some of the government's actions in some of these kinds of things. Not at all am I saying I uphold or endorse their actions but unfortunately, we all live in an imperfect world full of fine print, loopholes, bad cops, bad people, blah, blah, blah...

Re:Blah (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437442)

Apparently you haven't been paying attention, local and state governments are already using drones, and the military gleefully loans them out domestically to law enfarcement. Nothing on your list is new, that's all been happening since the days of your great-great-great-great grandpappy and creation of a police state was never necessary prior to today.

Will Toys-R-Us Carry Spy Drones? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436494)

I also heard they were going to outsource production to Iran. It seems they recently developed some really advanced spy drone tech.

Custodiret Eos (4, Interesting)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436514)

I have always mused about how a grass-roots citizen intelligence agency that monitors the government and it's agents might be realized. It's not a matter of turn-about being fair play, but one of the notion of checks and balances. The US system of government only functions properly to the degree that it's transparent and accountable. There's lots of practical issues, not the least of which is that closely monitoring the government or blowing the whistle can often be illegal under current law. Nonetheless, Anonymous already exists as a Citizen's Intelligence Agency of sorts, and I think that's a trend that will continue.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Custodiret eos,

FAA regulated model aircraft (1)

yogidog98 (1800862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436524)

I'm not familiar with the laws surrounding the flying of model aircraft, but I suspect there will be some threshold when these 'toys' are prevalent and powerful (ie. potentially destructive) enough that the FAA will start heavily regulating them, possibly requiring licensing of both aircraft and operator.

Re:FAA regulated model aircraft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436788)

I'm a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, I fly RC planes, and there's been a lot of buzz about pending legislation requiring stricter licensing and materials of microcraft or anything that flies and is controlled by radio frequency.
The guy who is advocating car batteries on drones, if I read that right, doesn't know what he's talking about.
RC standard these days are Lithium-Polymer, the guy that talked about those above does know.

Realistically you can get a good 30 minutes out of a glider with a constantly unpowered moter, maybe an hour tops if you double up batteries, but with most aircraft, including drones, it's all about keep it light light light. Flight time for most of my planes is in the 5-8 minute range.

Re:FAA regulated model aircraft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436962)

There are RC model aircraft flying that are much larger and heavier than most people realize -- the national sanctioning organization (AMA) considers anything over 55 pounds to be "large" -- so they certainly have the capability to carry a sophisticated suite of surveillance equipment. However, the FAA's advisory circular AC 91-57 restricts them to flight under 400 feet and under direct visual control of the operator. If you're standing on the ground watching the aircraft and controlling it, that's fine. If you're sitting in front of a display and controlling it without directly seeing it, it is not a model operating under AC 91-57: it is a drone aircraft, and has to have an airworthiness certificate issued by the FAA, and that's not the only hoop you have to jump through.

rj

Re:FAA regulated model aircraft (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437524)

After I saw this episode of Auction Hunters [youtube.com] , I'll never look at model aircraft the same way again. Amazing how elaborate model aircraft can get.

The toy doesn't stream video (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436548)

It records to an SD card, not useful for spying.

Just a thought...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436594)

Fore some of us, the original thought put an idea in our heads....

"People are concerned about government use of domestic surveillance drones, but how is that different than what happens when people make their own drones, or buy them at a toy store? These units don't have the endurance or performance of the 'professional' models, but they can be useful and will get better. I can hear the police now when they realize the protesters are tracking them with toys."

Better yet - if they can watch us, then who's going to stop us from watching them? A lot of truth could come out because of this!

Re:Just a thought...... (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437484)

who's going to stop us from watching them?

The cop with the shotgun that blows your $1000 toy out of the air because it's a "public hazard".

Cellphone robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436630)

www.osbots.com sells cellphone based robots for $150 and up. They basically use the phone as the camera and radio and, since it's a cellphone, it has virtually unlimited range if you can get a signal. These have gone out for groceries on the sidewalk, even.

Sousveillance ftw!

Rhetorical or Not? (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436646)

People are concerned about government use of domestic surveillance drones, but how is that different than what happens when people make their own drones, or buy them at a toy store?

I can't tell if your question is rhetorical or not, because it doesn't work as a rhetorical (the simple, obvious answer is false). So here goes the straight-man answer:

1. Private citizens are not (generally) using taxpayer money to do so.

2. Private citizens do not (generally) have the authority to incarcerate other people.

3. Private citizens are supposed to monitor civil servants even when there is no reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

4. Private citizens are not (generally) supposed to engage in surveillance of other private citizens under any conditions.

5. Civil servants are not supposed to engage in surveillance of private citizens without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

6. Civil servants are not supposed to buy or build things unless it is the public will that they do so (this can be an implicit will interpreted by civil leaders such as chiefs of police).

7. Private citizens are not supposed to be inhibited in buying or building things unless the thing in question has been specifically regulated through the legislative process or other due deliberative process authorized by the people.

Hope that helps.

Re:Rhetorical or Not? (3, Interesting)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436818)

4. Private citizens are not (generally) supposed to engage in surveillance of other private citizens under any conditions.
You obviously don't live in a housing development with CCRs (deed restrictions on what you can do with "your" house) or a HOA (home owners association, like with a condominium or housing development), that is monitored by a bunch of really angry busy bodies, or anywhere else where some of your neighbors have nothing better to do than concern themselves with the business of everyone else. Or a neighborhood bully. Or get on the wrong side of the neighborhood watch committee for a flippant comment questioning their authoritah.

Quadrocopter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436756)

So Quadrocopter already offers ready to fly (RTF) kits for a few grand to a max of about $10K. Granted, more than Toys-R-Us, but affordable to the serious DIY spy. Roll your own GPS waypoint flight system and you've got full autonomy in platform capable of high-rez photo or high-def video collection. If you can live with a light-weight camera, you can add battery to the heavy lift platforms and get significant flight times (greater than 60min).

Re:Quadrocopter (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437466)

Or use an R/C blimp to stay aloft for days. And silently. A dark and silent drone blimp might fly undetected on a moonless night, even at just a few meters above the surface. Equipped with a FLIR camera you could gather all sorts of evidence. Or you could make the blimp look like a hanging plant and have it perch against just about any surface. Or use the plane or blimp to drop surveillance bugs that could include camera's, microphones, and transmitters to spy just about anywhere. By the time the bug is identified the damage to the target may already be done.

Imagine a bug camouflaged as a lump of coal dropped down a chimney. Or an R/C surveillance car dropped down a chimney to rove around inside a building. There may be some technical challenges, but definitely within the capabilities of a determined and skilled hobbyist. The possibilities are only limited by creativity. Makes you wonder what the CIA is up to these days.

What we should be asking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436928)

What we should be asking is why don't they carry armed Nerf-Predator drones, or Airsoft mini-Apache choppers?
I'd even accept laser tag drones with the controls automatically forcing a landing on a successful hit.

Re:What we should be asking... (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437540)

Air Hogs has a pair of helicopters with a "laser tag" type of function. When "hit" with the laser, the helicopter descends to the ground to simulate a kill. Makes for great two player action.

Quiet Citizen, this is a National Security Issue. (1)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437030)

Since such actions may affect national security, we better redefine controlled airspace as anything "50 or more feet above the average natural or man-made object height within in any 250' radius from the device in question." By doing this we can eliminate: uncontrolled private aircraft (ie; Cessna fuel bombs), terrorist-centered high-powered rocketry (why would any 'normal' citizen need to launch any device over 250' in the air), surveillance drones (including all forms of remote-controlled aircraft, again, why would any 'normal' citizen need to pilot a 1/24th scale flying model for ANY reason, other than terrorism training), parachuting, etc..

Of course, there will be law enforcement exceptions.

All Your Healthcare Costs Are Belong To (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437060)

You, losers. [youtube.com]

Hahahahahahaha.

Already happened in Russia (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38437108)

This happened in Russia already. There was something of a flap over a small UAV observing pro-democracy protests in Moscow. But it wasn't the Government doing it. It was a group of bloggers with a model helicopter, and here are the pictures it took. [ridus.ru]

There are some pretty advanced homebuilts already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38437272)

I'm surprised no-one has posted this yet. I think I saw it linked on /. last time there was a drone story and the poster referred to these guys as "The rock stars of aerial video".

http://team-blacksheep.com/videos

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