The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) is scrapping plans to test persistent aerial surveillance technology following criticism from privacy advocates. This kind of technology has prompted privacy concerns in others cities, with Baltimore being perhaps the most notable. One of the best-known aerial surveillance companies allows users to keep a roughly 25 square mile area under surveillance and comes with “Google Earth with TiVo” capability, The news from Miami-Dade county. while reassuring, underlines a number of issues concerning federalism, privacy, and transparency that lawmakers must tackle as aerial surveillance tools improve and proliferate.
As the Baltimore Police Department considers whether to continue using a private aerial surveillance program to fight crime, the man who owns the technology is looking to court other clients in private industry. Ross McNutt, president of Persistent Surveillance Systems, said he is considering marketing his company’s ability to collect aerial footage of the city to auto insurance companies, to help them determine which drivers are at fault in accidents and whether claims are valid.