NEW YORK ‒ Before today’s announcement concerning its planned use of drones, the New York Police Department had provided the New York Civil Liberties Union with a draft policy, met with the NYCLU about its drone program, and received and responded to written comments from the NYCLU.
The NYCLU issued the following comment from associate legal director Christopher Dunn regarding the NYPD’s announcement that they will start using drones for policing:
“Police cameras in the skies of New York City offer a new frontier for both public safety and abuses of power. When the NYPD provided us with an early look at a draft policy that would govern the Department’s deployment of drones, the NYCLU expressed serious concerns. The NYPD did make some changes, but we continue to believe the NYPD's drone program poses a serious threat to New Yorkers’ privacy.
“The NYPD’s drone policy places no meaningful restrictions on police deployment of drones in New York City and opens the door to the police department building a permanent archive of drone footage of political activity and intimate private behavior visible only from the sky. While we appreciate the NYPD’s willingness to meet with us before it announced this program, we believe the new policy falls far short of what is needed to balance the department’s legitimate law-enforcement needs against the privacy interests of New Yorkers.”