UK Daily Mail
Wednesday, Aug 6, 2008
Unmanned spy planes could soon be used to carry out covert surveillance on UK citizens, under controversial new Government plans.
The MoD is working with defence firm BAE Systems to make so-called UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) safe enough to be used to help police operations in the UK.
The sophisticated unmanned aircraft are able to get clear images of the ground even when flying at up to 50, 000 feet.
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However, even though they are widely used by British troops in warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, until now they have not been cleared for use in civilian airspace.
The plan to use UAVs in Britain has worried civil liberties groups who say that they could be used to spy on innocent civilians.
Gareth Crossman, director of policy at the civil rights watchdog Liberty, told The Independent: ‘The question is not so much about the technology but what one does with it.
‘We have quite definite laws about where CCTV can be used but of course with UAVs you have much greater ability to gather material in private spaces and this would lead to concern.’
He added: ‘If they are used to simply hover to gain random information then that would obviously be a matter of worry and a civil liberty issue.’
This article was posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm