Privacy: Heat detecting equipment attached to plane for police surveillance.

Here is something of interest for those with concerns about privacy:

This is a decision from Canada relating to the use of heat detecting equipment and whether or not such action runs afoul of the right to privacy and violates the reasonable expectation of privacy.

Basically the equipment is fixed to a plane and it flies across the area taking heat signatures and then it compares the signature to what is the normal heat signature. I could not remember if it was this case or another one where basically what the police did was to obtain electricity usage and from there compare it to a normal residence to determine whether there was growth of drugs in the house. Apparently drugs requires one to use a lot of energy up to 4x the normal and as a result produces quite a bit of heat.

The judgment included this line “FLIR technology at this stage of its development is both non-intrusive in its operations and mundane in the data it is capable of producing,” which suggests that this decision may not stand in future circumstances. Of course a funny result would occur if a new technology is found to be intrusive. Therefore police might have to use older technology to engage in surveillance.

Given that the court did say that the “The nature of the intrusiveness is subtle, but almost Orwellian in its theoretical capacity,” one question is: How far of intrusiveness is required before the balance tips from protection to privacy?

Personally, I believe that I often come down on the side of greater surveillance powers and capabilities.

8 thoughts on “Privacy: Heat detecting equipment attached to plane for police surveillance.

  1. Luckily here in the States SCOTUS ruled on a similar instance back in October 2000.

    The Summary Court Opinion is available as a PDF file. The case was KYLLO v. UNITED STATES where Kyllo was growing Pot in his home and the police detected the hydroponic growing apparatus via an infrared scan of his home.

    The Appeals and District Courts found this was acceptable, but SCOTUS got it right: The search violated his 4th Amendment rights.

    It would be foolish to contend that the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been entirely unaffected by the advance of technology. For example, as the cases discussed above make clear, the technology enabling human flight has exposed to public
    view (and hence, we have said, to official observation) uncovered portions of the house and its curtilage that once were private. See Ciraolo, supra, at 215. The question we confront today is what limits there are upon this power of technology to shrink the realm of guaranteed privacy.
    We have said that the Fourth Amendment draws “a firm line at the entrance to the house,

  2. I’d imagine your infrared sig coming off your house would end up being considered like any other radiation coming out, like cordless phones, cell phones, etc.  They require a warrant to tap, so it would seem that the same would go for your heat sig at home.

    Use of FLIR has been around in the US by helos in pursuits at night.  That’s one thing, but scanning houses at random is a bit like going around with a scanner listening in on phone calls for suspicious conversations.

  3. Personally, I believe that I often come down on the side of greater surveillance powers and capabilities.

    I believe that our military and law enforcement should always have the latest and greatest technology available should the need it.

    Employing advanced technologies at random, or fishing for violators, does little more than to establish a police state.  Thankfully the courts in the US have made the right decisions.

    Should technology become available which allows law enforcement to see clearly through solid walls I would want that technology to be available to them…after they get a warrant.

  4. The stupid thing about the US$10 billion spent each year on the war on drugs (specifically marijuana) is that the availability and usage of mull has remained static despite this so-called war. In other words, the government war on marijuana is totally ineffective. Why don’t they just do everyone a favour and legalize it nationally? There are far more deserving crimes that need attention. Hell, the most alcohol drunk per capita in US history was during prohibition ..fuck’n LEARN from that!

  5. Why don’t they just do everyone a favour and legalize it nationally?

    Because the war on drugs has an obsessive-compulsive quality to it.  Hard to stop when it’s the filter that allows you to perceive you’re doing something for your own security.  Maybe OCD medications would help our drug policy people see the light.

    “Auugh! Drugs!  Drugs everywhere!  Stoned slackers destroying civilization!  Officer, arrest that man!  Arrest them all!”

    “There, there, mr. Ashcroft, this should help you feel better soon…” (*stick*)

    “No!  No drugs!  I…  drugs…”  (drool…)

  6. living in canada, this issue is often in the newspapers. But really it’s no big deal.

    The police scan the fields everywhere with infrared equipment on helicopters searching for large concentrations of cannabis plants.

    Apparently these plants keep the heat a little longer than most other plants at night.

    As for the electricity consumption, the electricity company here just reports any excessive use of power when they read you meter to bill you.Maybe there is some bonus system for those who report.

    The truth is that people who plant outside know they have to spread out their plants, and the ones that need more electricity for indoor activities know how to bypass or even reverse the meter since the company man always come to read the meter at the same time of the month.

    In if you do get caught, they slap you on the hand and say “BAD BOY”.

    often when someone gets caught growing hydroponics in their appartment, it’s because their electric system catches on fire.

    Regarding prison terms and fines for those who get caught often or just doing BIG business. I think they are happy they get caught on canadian soil.

  7. In the UK after you have bought your hydroponics on the high street your next port of call is the local illegal electrician who knocks up a very simple box of tricks that alters your meter.
    The penalties in the UK are often more severe for the theft of the leccy than the growing.
    The heat signature is hidden by ducting the necessary ventilation system through the sewage waste pipe.
    This also disguises the smell sick
    The Joseph Rowntree foundation a charitable non bias source has determined that home grown outstripped the imported stuff in 2004.
    Very high quality I am told the Dutch appreciate it, high praise indeed.

  8. Hello:

    I had owned a night club in Tampa Florida for seven years.
    Before I ever opened the doors I was threatened that were
    going to be narcotic trafficking in the club by a sheriff’s deputy
    (Rocky Rodriguez).
    Not long after we opened I received numerous reports that it
    was true and I went to the FBI to report the activity, their advise
    was to tell the sheriffs office, too witch I replied, “it is the sheriffs
    office” (I had called the sheriffs office before to report criminal
    activity going on and begged them to come inside to stop it,
    the officer said it was private property and there was nothing he
    could do and took off in his cruiser). A lot of information came
    from strippers pressed into working for these criminals and they
    wanted to turn on these guys but no one would help.
    After going to the F.B.I. to report the criminal activity I started
    receiving death threats. I then had one of the drug dealers get in
    my face and say I was playing both sides of the law. To make matters
    worse one of the other dealers went to my accountant, told her I was a
    racist questioned my books and then told her that he was Keith
    Hamilton of Florida’s A. B. T. When she gave me his physical
    description I confronted him in the club and told him what I thought
    of him. It turns out that this is not the real Keith Hamilton but a dealer
    with the sheriffs protection.
    A gun was planted in my apartment in Saint Petersburg and I reported
    it to the F.B.I. where again nothing happened.
    In the seven years I had owned the club I had been witness to
    extortion, prostitution, planting of evidence, narcotic trafficking, perjury,
    grand theft, mail tampering, assault, to list but a few of the criminal
    activity done under the protection of the Hillsboro Sheriffs office.
    I have since closed the club and filed a suit. Any help to bring light
    to my investigation would be welcome. For the more on the police corruption in Tampa Bay being ignored by local government. Please go to.

    J. Andy Gallogly

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