As New Yorkers prepare for Labor Day festivities, there’s a new guest in town, and it’s not bringing a potato salad. The NYPD has announced plans to deploy its drone fleet to monitor large gatherings, even those tucked away in private backyards.
Picture this: You’re flipping burgers at your BBQ, and suddenly, a drone buzzes overhead. Barbecue with a side of dystopian surveillance, anyone?
The announcement has triggered a fiery response from civil rights advocates who argue that this high-flying surveillance tramples on privacy rights. Daniel Schwarz of the New York Civil Liberties Union called it a “sci-fi-inspired scenario” and pointed out the targeting of events celebrating racial minority communities.
While the NYPD defends its drone use as a safety measure, critics say it’s a backyard invasion that’s gone too far. As Albert Fox Cahn of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project puts it, “This is incredibly invasive and downright creepy.” Looks like the hotdogs won’t be the only things under scrutiny this Labor Day