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NYPD to use drones to monitor backyard parties over Labor Day weekend, sparking privacy concerns

The New York City Police Department announced plans to fly surveillance drones over the city this Labor Day weekend to monitor outdoor parties or barbecues following complaints about large gatherings.

The plan prompted criticism from privacy and civil liberties advocates who raised concerns about whether this use of drones violates existing laws on police surveillance.

“It’s a troubling announcement, and it flies in the face of the POST Act,” New York Civil Liberties Union privacy and technology strategist Daniel Schwarz said, referring to a 2020 city law requiring the NYPD to disclose its surveillance tactics. “Deploying drones in this way is a sci-fi-inspired scenario.”

I’ve seen a lot of people saying they’d shoot down the drones.

Let me remind you that firing a gun in an urban area is against the law, and you are responsible for every bullet that goes up and what happens when it comes down.

So let’s look back at history.

During WWII, when the Germans were bombing London, the British set up a passive defense called barrage balloons.


Interesting, but I’m not making bombs.

Let’s look at nature.

This is a Portuguese Man-O-War.


They hunt by dragging their tentacles behind them in the water.

This is one catching a fish.


Have we put two plus two plus two together yet?

How about a series of party balloons dragging long strands of high-test monofilament fishing line.

It would be nearly invisible, and any drones that would fly into the line would get it’s props tangled instantly.

No props, no lift.

No gunshots into the air.

No noise of gunfire.

I’m just thinking out loud.

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By J. Kb

9 thoughts on “A low tech solution borrowed from history and nature”
  1. Interfering with an aircraft in flight is a federal felony. The FAA consider these aircraft because the pilot needs a license to operate them.

    1. Everyone who flies needs a license. Registration of a specific drone is required if they weigh over 250 grams.
      There is more information at: pilotinstitute dot com fwd slash drone dash license dash requirements fwd slash
      They have a free instruction course detailing the rules.

    2. There is also a rule about altitude over occupied areas (houses, businesses, etc…) Something like 500 feet minimum altitude. Cannot remember, it has been ages. Which means your tethered balloon must be at least 500 feet in the air in order to be even remotely effective. (Either that, or the police are flying them below an allowable altitude.)

  2. Elect some more democrats…. We aint under TOTAL control yet… are pellet rifles illegal in nyc? probably idk. something to think about, hide in the shadows and poof! Hey lookit! That drone is flyin wierd… how high do they fly? You can get weather balloons on line… armed with a dangerous mind…

  3. 14 CFR Part 77 requires notice to the FAA before you build anything that might adversely impact airspace. And, a tethered balloon is specifically mentioned in that part. Now, if your balloon is one of those used car lot balloons, maybe 50 feet in the air, no biggie, notice is not required. However in order to have a balloon at sufficient altitude to stop a drone, you must provide notice to the FAA, and get a determination from than on impact to the airspace.
    Now, here is the fun part. If the FAA says your tethered balloon is a hazard to the airspace, that does not prevent you from flying it. The FAA would have to re-route aircraft, or change altitudes, etc.. to avoid, rather than send the police to arrest you.
    While it is a solid solution, the details (damned details always ruining things…) can and will screw you up.
    But… it is a good idea. The question is how does one achieve that legally, and at a reasonable cost?

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