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German Railway Plans To Target Graffiti Artists Using Drones

What's the Latest Development?

In an attempt to stop graffiti artists from decorating their trains and depots, Germany's national railway Deutsche Bahn plans to launch a squadron of drones equipped with infrared cameras that will ideally catch the perpetrators in the act. The drones will cost about €60,000 (about US$77,600) each, and will fly up to 150 meters above ground. A company spokesman said their focus would be on monitoring company property only; anything or anyone outside of that area would not be filmed.

What's the Big Idea?

Both surreptitious surveillance and drones are highly contentious issues in a country where over 200,000 homeowners opted out of Google's Street View project three years ago and where last month a project to develop a military drone was halted. However, graffiti cleanup costs Deutsche Bahn a reported €7.6 million (US$10 million) yearly. Assuming the drones do keep to privately-owned land, there doesn't seem to be that much difference between them and stationary surveillance cameras. Thus, with the proposed deployment, "Germany seems to be entering a legal grey area - it is not clear when the flight of a drone may become so extensive that the wider authorities need to intervene."

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Read it at BBC News

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