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Spy Cameras In Flight

Jan 28, 2008
In May of 2007, a London newspaper reported a new development in the technology of spy cameras: flying spy cameras. The Microdrone, originally designed for military use, is only 2 feet in diameter and features eight rotor blades that propel it through the sky like a little helicopter. The device is quipped with a series of state of the art gadgets. Police in the U.K. hope to use it to fight crime in Liverpool.

When it takes to the skies, the Microdrone is able to move about in virtual silence, hovering above the city as it employs its spy camera, attached to its underbelly. It is able to take off, maneuver, and land in all types of weather and can move at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour.

What does this mean for civilians? They have to watch their heads as well as their backs. Flying spy cameras like the Microdrone will be used for anything from keeping an eye on suspicious youths to taking quick stock of dangerous sieges that might be unsafe for even armed officers.

Flying spy cameras take CCTV monitoring to a whole new level - literally. These spy cameras have a range of 500 yards and are flown by a trained officer on the ground wearing special goggles that allow him to see what the Microdrone is seeing. Other gadgets that might be installed on these new flying spy cameras include thermal imaging devices and even loudspeakers that would allow police to address crowds from above.

Reactions to these flying spy cameras are mixed. Some have called all CCTV systems, "Orwellian," referring to George Orwell's cautionary tale of a society obsessed with monitoring its citizens, 1984. But such systems are rapidly being installed across the United Kingdom and the United States for use in law enforcement.

"People clamour for the feeling of safety which cameras give," assures Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne. "Our drone will be used primarily to support our anti-social taskforce in gathering all-important evidence to put offenders before the courts. Other uses may include monitoring public disorder, crowd control during large- scale events, and dealing with traffic congestion. We're also looking at its potential during firearm operations.

"For us, this is a cost-effective way of helping to catch criminals which supports similar technology we're already using in our CCTV vans and helicopter."

Business development manager Alistair Fox, of the German-based company creating these machines, said of the spy cameras:

"We believe they are ideal for police use -- they can be up in the air in just three minutes, they are relatively easy to fly, and they can provide high-quality images back to officers on the ground.

"They don't need clearance from the Civil Aviation Authority because, as they weigh less than 7kg, they are officially classified as toys."

Spy cameras in general used to be only fanciful dreams, toys of super-spies with big budgets. But they are really toys no more. They are being used to fight crime from Chicago to Liverpool. For more information about spy cameras available for commercial or personal use, visit your local Home Security Store.
About the Author
Ralph Winn. 35 years in the Security System industry. Home Security and Alarm Monitoring tips.
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