With literally hundreds of thousands of cameras -- some sporting speakers and microphones -- trained on its poor citizens from the moment they step out of the house in the morning until their hasty retreat inside at night, we're not sure why the UK needs yet another set of eyes scoping out so-called 'anti-social behaviour' among the populace, but that isn't stopping the vanguard of Big Brother technology from deploying its first unmanned police drone next month. In what is being perhaps optimistically billed as just a three-month trial, Merseyside police will unleash a one-meter wide, night-vision camera-equipped mini-helicopter into the skies (up to 500-meters high) above their jurisdiction, and task it with gathering evidence for court cases as well as the less glamorous job of monitoring traffic congestion. Originally built for the military by a Germany company and called the 'hicam microdrone,' these repurposed mechanical bobbies can either be controlled by an operator via remote or set to patrol autonomously using their built-in GPS nav systems. You'll recall that a similar system being considered by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department was shot down by the FAA around this time last year, proving once again that up-and-coming British criminals could probably minimize their risks of incarceration by making the move Stateside.

[Via The Register, pic courtesy of microdrones GmbH, thanks Paul J. and rastrus]

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