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Britain to use drones to spy on homes

Britain plans to use unmanned spyplanes, like those used to spot Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in Pakistan’s Swat region, for surveillance operations in the UK, reports Vijay Dutt.
Hindustan Times | By Vijay Dutt, London
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2009 11:14 PM IST

Britain plans to use unmanned spyplanes, like those used to spot Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists in Pakistan’s Swat region, for surveillance operations in the UK.

These piltoless unmanned aerial vehicles armed with heat-seeking cameras can hover just hundreds of feet in the air, gathering intelligence and watching suspects.

But their use is sure to raise hackles of liberty and civil rights campaigners who are already incensed with what they call the ‘Big Brother’ attitude of the Labour Government.

The former Home Secretary David Blunkett was one of the first to raise his concerns about the plan.

Counter-terrorism measures for a “Big Brother” giant database were first announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown in February last year under the ‘Intercept Modernisation Programme’. Plans to introduce the unmanned aerial vehicles is outlined in the Home Office’s Science and Innovation Strategy.

The British Home Office has suggested that the remote-controlled drones could be used to help security forces track criminals, and gather evidence without putting officers at risk.

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