Big Brother is going to watching over Labor Day weekend, as the New York Police Department says it will be dispatching drones to spy on large gatherings, looking for potential disturbances.
“If a caller states there’s a large crowd, a large party in a backyard, we’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up and go check on the party,” said NYPD Assistant Commissioner Kaz Daughtry.
Watch live as Commissioner Caban, NYPD executives, & city officials brief the media regarding safety & security measures for J’Ouvert & the West Indian Day Parade. https://t.co/GUsWNT85vC
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) August 31, 2023
Daughtry added that the spy drones will be used for both “non-priority calls and priority calls.”
“We’re going to be utilizing our assets to go up, go check on the party, to make sure if the call is founded or not, and we’ll be able to determine how many resources we need to send to that location for this weekend,” Daughtry said.
Needless to say, this news is not sitting well with a lot of people, including Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP) Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn.
“This plan just doesn’t fly,” Cahn told Gizmodo. “Even before these drones got off the ground, the NYPD already broke the law, violating the 2020 POST [Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology] Act, which requires public notice and comment before launching new surveillance programs.”
Daniel Schwarz, a privacy and technology strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union, compared the NYPD’s plan to dispatch drones to spy on gatherings to a “sci-fi-inspired scenario.”
The NYPD already recently brought back robot dogs that were mothballed after their initial purchase because New Yorkers, including then mayor Bill de Blasio, thought they were dystopian and, well, frightening.
“It’s creepy, alienating and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” said de Blasio.
They NYPD has also been testing out a five-foot-tall K5 Autonomous Security Robot.
Current New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a former policeman, doesn’t understand why so many are against the use of these technologies.
“Anything technology they think, ‘Oh it’s a boogeyman. It’s Big Brother watching you.’ No, Big Brother is protecting you,” he told Politico last year.
Despite his frustrated explanation, the people are still not happy.
The Labor day weekend purge. pic.twitter.com/X3YA0U1xF5
— Michael Birzin (@bigbee383) August 31, 2023
“How TF can you even begin to justify this breach of the Constitution and violation of our civil rights?” read another response to the announcement. “We cannot allow this to stand, it’s a blatant abuse of power.”
Oh, I’ve been waiting for these times my whole life! pic.twitter.com/HQ9ubJhYWB
— Timmy Mac (@TimMacdowall) September 1, 2023
“Maybe the drones will get shot out of the sky,” someone else wondered.
Adams would go on to say that the drone technology would allow officers to creep on “hotties” while not having to be noticed.
— Gordie (@BfgGordie) September 1, 2023