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NYPD’s Miller: No Drones In Use Now, But Possibilities Under Discussion

Delivery company DHL tests a drone in Bonn, Germany on Dec. 9, 2013. (credit: Getty Images)

Delivery company DHL tests a drone in Bonn, Germany on Dec. 9, 2013. (credit: Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Big Brother may soon be watching with a bird’s eye view – but there are no specific plans yet.

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported Tuesday, police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he supports the use of drone technology.

But speaking to the City Council Finance Committee, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said drones are not in use yet, and will not be put into use by the NYPD in the immediate future.

“At this point, we have no drones, don’t use any drones, haven’t deployed any drones,” Miller said. “However, it’s something that we’ll continue to look at.”

Miller said Federal Aviation Administration rules on drone flight levels and technology questions must still be answered.

Miller discussed the issue after Councilman Corey Johnson (D-3rd) brought up drones upon hearing from constituents. Johnson said there may also be legal issues with regard to drones.

“Given New York City is unique in its density, people have had serious concerns about drones with regard to privacy in our city,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he was glad to hear drone technology was not already in use.

Miller assured Johnson and others they will be briefed before drones are deployed.

Last year, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested that NYPD drones were inevitable.

On his weekly radio show in March 2013, Bloomberg responded to a question about the possible domestic use of drones by the NYPD or another entity, calling it “scary.”

“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it,” Bloomberg said last year. “It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”

And what the tide may be bringing in is drones – unmanned aircraft that can shoot live video, the former mayor said last year.

“What’s the difference whether the drones up in the air or in the building?” Bloomberg said. “I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction.”

Drones are already in use by law enforcement in other cities.

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