California sheriff defends buying drones in secret

Dec 4, 2014 2:54 PM by News Staff

DUBLIN, Calif. (AP) - A Northern California sheriff is defending the secret purchase of two unmanned drones after an uproar by privacy advocates.

The Oakland Tribune reports that Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern said Wednesday the drones will be for search-and-rescue operations, bomb squad work, and other emergencies, not surveillance.

But the secrecy of the purchase has infuriated the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. Attorney Linda Lye said the public deserves better safeguards when it comes to privacy rights.

Last year, the sheriff requested approval from county supervisors to use a federal Homeland Security grant and county taxpayer money to acquire drones.

He backed off amid opposition from privacy groups.

That appeared to be the end of the public debate until Ahern announced he used $97,000 from the county's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to buy the drones.


Information from: The Oakland Tribune

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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