A civilian drone aircraft with high-resolution video capability was reportedly used by the police to conduct surveillance on the entire city of Compton, California at the same time. Compton is a small municipality that spans 10-square miles and during 2012, a drone with a high-resolution video camera was tested over the city without the knowledge of the citizens living there.
A man named Ross McNutt with a company called Persistence Surveillance Systems said that during the time the drone was being tested, operators were able to zoom in anywhere within the city and they could follow cars and see people. The drone used in the surveillance system can stay in the air for six hours.
Video systems aboard the drone are said to work like Google Earth where the operator can zoom in on certain areas. The system also supports rewinding of video feeds so police can look back at events that happened when they weren’t watching in real time. L.A. County Sheriff’s officer Sgt Douglas Iketani says that the agency hid the experiment to avoid public outcry.
The company that McNutt works for is trying to sell the drone surveillance systems to police departments around the world. Indications are that none of the departments has purchased the tech yet. Cameras on the drone aircraft are not good enough to recognize faces of people in the video yet.
SOURCE: The Atlantic