Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts

Drones Don’t Wear Uniforms. They Should.

94% Upvoted
What are your thoughts? Log in or Sign uplog insign up
154 points · 1 month ago

I mean, yeah. If police or military vehicles are marked in police/military colors, drones should be too.

They're remotely operated vehicles effectively.

70 points · 1 month ago

You don't even need "effectively" here. They just are.

32 points · 1 month ago

One point of using drones was always plausible deniability and causing misattribution of responsibility. Human pilots can be captured, identified, interrogated. Drones misleadingly made to look like DIY kits can be useful to cause havoc and spy in violation of legal procedures disallowing organized entities like countries and police depts from either activity.

Which is something that should not be happening in situations involving civil unrest.

For example, without clear markings the military/law enforcement could use drones to attack protesters and then be able to plausibly deny any wrongdoing in the eyes of the law because their drone looks like any other drone that could have been flying around.

7 points · 1 month ago

protesters should just destroy all drones.

Then you get charged with destroying police property even if it's unmarked, possibly a list of other charges like obstructing an investigation or even conspiracy-related charges.

0 points · 1 month ago

If they have a drone they won't have police.

na make your own armed protest drone, with friend/foe radio transceivers, then have them hunt the non friendly drones until your protest has localized air superiority.

I think suicide drones will be the most powerful force.

Once these are used in terrorist attacks. We are going to have a lot of problems.

Marking them is the LEAST we should be doing.

The point of clearly marking vehicles is that they contain people, and we don't want civilian vehicles to be destroyed thus harming the occupants. But drones have no passengers. Who cares if enemy soldiers destroy civilian drones?

16 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

The article is focusing on them being used in situations such as protests and riots and even in warzones. Since they're unmarked and they don't carry electronic identifiers like military transponders or radio IDs, they exist in a space where international law doesn't really touch on rules for them.

The IDF’s drones also do not appear to be marked with anything that identifies them as military aircraft or as Israeli. They also don’t seem to carry transponders or other electronic means of identification, which would permit them to self-identify as military aircraft. This presents another potential legal problem. Most interpretations of international law state that military aircraft must bear both nationality markings and markings that identify them as military aircraft.

These markings allow them to be distinguished from civilians under the principle of distinction, ensuring that both other combatants and civilians can tell them apart from civilian aircraft. Under international humanitarian law, an unmanned aerial vehicle (that is controlled by a human, not autonomously) is subject to the same rules and requirements that manned aircraft are. We could interpret this to mean that Israel is obligated to mark its drones to designate them as military, not civilian aircraft — just as Israel marks its other aircraft.

However, unlike for manned aircraft, there are no standardized or customary markings for drones — and the marking standards that suit much larger manned aircraft will need to be modified to work for them. There is still no good way to tell small drones apart in airspace by electronic or radio means;

That makes things especially tricky in contexts where military or police drones may be, in the near future, just some of those buzzing around a conflict. Journalists are making increasing use of drones to record events, while aid workers are currently using them to gain situational awareness of disasters and will likely begin using them to deliver medical supplies and other objects in the near future.

The article even goes on to describe how a Palestinian journalist was killed by the IDF because he was operating a drone near them, which could have simply been a reaction to a unmarked drone that could have been carrying weapons - which is where the issue is.

Lieberman inadvertently captured the central problem created by the murky and confused status of small drones and the inability of actors on all sides to gauge what a drone’s intentions are. Before civilian drones became widespread, it was easy to make the argument that everyone who flew a drone in a conflict area was likely a combatant. It was also easy to argue that civilians knew that drones were intrinsically dangerous, and that there was therefore no need to mark them as military aircraft. That’s just not true anymore, in the era of near-ubiquitous consumer drones. Technology has, once again, outpaced both the law and our culture.

Simply put, there's currently no way to tell if a drone is operated by the military or by civilians, and that is a huge problem when everyone from your mum to your toddler is flying commercial-grade drones.

Are these drones large enough to be mistaken for manned aircraft?

...The point is that if the military is operating drones and everyone is able to have access to drones similar in shape and size, then the military should mark their drones and give them electronic identifiers just like any aircraft or land vehicles they operate.

Size doesn't matter. The article uses the example of the IDF using unmarked drones to drop tear gas on protesters, which were buzzing around in the same area as drones being used by journalists to film the event or drones owned by civilians.

Size matters because if some civilian drones get shot down it's just money where if civilian planes get shot down lives are lost. That's why we have to mark military vehicles large enough to contain people but not military video cameras - sure they can be mistaken for civilian ones, but it's just property.

The point is that it's impossible to know what the purpose of a drone is because there's no markings or identifiers to distinguish them. And in a situation as volatile as a protest or a warzone that's incredibly dangerous.

0 points · 1 month ago

it makes sense to shoot them all.

Well it's dangerous to the drones - a lot of civilian drones will be shot down. So? Both sides can and will be intentionally destroying civilian drones anyway.

It's not just money, it's responsibility for potentially inflicting casualties

Some are comparable in size to conventional light aircraft, e.g. the MQ-1 Predator.

168 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

A town in my area got a new fleet of police cruisers. They’re all black with matte black decals. Police are supposed to be the good guys, right? These black-on-black cruisers make them look more like an edgy villain from a future Cars sequel. I don’t like this trend.

EDIT: For those curious, this is a small town (not known for its wealth) in Northeastern USA.

ALSO, here's an article I found on these "stealth" police cars.

94 points · 1 month ago

And the UK paints them in hi-visibility paint and decals. I agree with you, police shouldn't be going for the tactical/stealth/military angle except for extreme cases (i.e. hostage rescue and such).

It should be clearly visible as the civilian organisation working to protect people and enforce the rule of the law.

9 points · 1 month ago

The biggest thing they do is hand out speeding tickets, so cops don't want to be seen until its to late.

the civilian organisation working to protect people and enforce the rule of the law.


There's plenty of unmarked police cars in use in the UK.

No one is talking about unmarked or under cover vehicles. Just regular police equipment.

5 points · 1 month ago

Exactly. Unmarked cars have their purpose.

“Are we the baddies?..”

A town in my area got a new fleet of police cruisers.

You should look into this. How many cruisers? From where? I'd bet a dollar that you will find that the owner of the dealership that sold these cars to the municipality has given large sums of money to one or more candidates and this "sale" of cars is a political payback.

A few years ago, a reporter in Miami found ~300 mostly unused city-owned Priuses sitting in a parking garage.

This is all about writing tickets for traffic violations. In most states there is some regulation against using unmarked vehicles for certain types of traffic enforcement, so they skirt around it by using these 'stealth' marked cars because there are no regs for how visible a marked police vehicle should be.

31 points · 1 month ago

Black-on-black police cars?

What dystopian shithole country do you live in?

a town over in CT, the new cruisers are mostly black chargers with grey decals. it’s a more wealthy town than my city, and i agree that it’s fucked. the cars they got for such a small beach town is a huge waste of tax payer money too. they’re more or less just glorified traffic cops in such a quaint town.

Milfordian checking in. They have a couple of these stealth cruisers here, too. They are used almost exclusively for traffic traps. It’s not surprising since the primary mission for cops is revenue generation with a sprinkling of citizen intimidation.

it’s a borderline military state, and it feels unamerican. i’ve been learning spanish for two years, i truly do want to move out of this country, but my dad who was in the navy said there’s no place that felt as comfortable as the US.

by that i think he means “unnecessarily big and wealthy”, so i think i could survive. but i do keep it in mind. we live a cushy lifestyle under a massive governmental thumb.

I’m 44yo and have been distrustful of the government since I first learned about it thanks to my hippie parents. I like to believe that I pay attention and at first glance it looks as corrupt and damaged as you imagine it to be. But upon further looking and immersion in our society, it’s not as bad as it seems. Sure, power corrupts. But the people have a voice and use it to great effect. Unfortunately, that voice has been much diminished lately but it is still there and still as powerful. There are only a handful governments in the world that have the same capacity for citizen action that ours has. And I don’t think any of them speak Spanish. Running away won’t solve your problems. And unless you are rich (which is a protected class in any system) or you have some unique and desired skill set, you are unlikely to find comfort in any of the better democracies out there.

So your only real choice is to stick it out here and do the hard work that will likely only be enjoyed by a future generation. We have all lived in a relatively prosperous and peaceful time here and we have become complacent because of it. Now we have to do the real work the boomers have put off while they reaped the benefits of the work done by their parents. Hopefully we will teach out children to continue our work so that it won’t be so painful for our grandchildren.

There are only a handful governments in the world that have the same capacity for citizen action that ours has. And I don’t think any of them speak Spanish.

Without wading into the discussion, I just wanted to point out that Spain itself is an exception. Spanish citizens in general are very politically engaged.

That omission speaks to my intellectual laziness. I wondered about Spain but my vague aging memory sent up warning signs that were probably related to how the government is dealing with Basque separatists. I also had a vague recollection that their unemployment numbers were representative of a failure in government. I stand corrected if these were unwarranted prejudices.

Yeah. Argentine folks as well are far more civicly engaged than Americans. They take to the streets in huge numbers without prior organization when sudden austerity measures are being forced through congress.

The Spanish speaking world is not nearly as apathetic as the anglophone world

I appreciate this response, I’ll highly keep it in mind.

Unfortunately, that voice has been much diminished lately but it is still there and still as powerful.

So it's diminished but it isn't?

Drowned out by those with money and access. But no less vocal. It’s the internet, buddy. I’m just a guy peddling hope. I’m no great speaker so you’ll have to give a pass for my poorly constructed sentiment.

but my dad who was in the navy said there’s no place that felt as comfortable as the US

I mean that depends where you set your sights on, I lived in Asia for a bit and that was nice but also as you say not as comfortable. Though every time I've been in the US I've also felt the same, that it's a nice place but if I stayed here for long I would really start missing northern europe

Our State's highway patrol cars are also black with dark decals. Really hard to recognize from far away.

13 points · 1 month ago

What dystopian shithole country do you live in?

Canada, probably.

My town has two police cars like this.

Police should be clearly marked. This whole trend of wearing black and unmarked cars is a terrible public image.

My town, and many others around it, all have these. They're the main cruisers, too, not just for special use cases. It's pathetic and needs to be outlawed. Be highly visible and professional, there are already undercover/unmarked cars for your shady shit. We're a suburban town of fewer than 8,000 people ffs.

"The stealth cars are so well camouflaged that police say some speeders and other traffic offenders often don't know a cop is behind them until they see the flashing police lights hidden in the grill."

Lol, ok Ford Taurus.

-22 points · 1 month ago(9 children)
13 points · 1 month ago

I see two problems:

  1. They're probably not really recognizable as police cars. They're consumer car models with the police-identifying markers intentionally hidden.

  2. Some people take umbrage with the the police adopting a menacing facade. They're supposed to be the good guys. It's like black vs. white hats in old cowboy movies. The good guys wear white hats.

Unfortunately police aren't actually there to protect and serve. They are there to generate tax revenue. Ever hear of a ghost car? They make up half the squad cars in the town I'm in.

I wasn't aware of the term "ghost car", but I get the point and I've seen plenty of them over the years. I think it's fucked up. I think our police should be much more open about what they're doing.

I wholly agree that the policing system should be completely overwhauled. But it's easier to catch speeders when you don't have big colorful striped decals on your car.

3 points · 1 month ago

Sure, it's easier to catch speeders, though part of me thinks that if you're paying enough attention to identify police cars and adjust your driving appropriately, then you're not driving too fast, distracted, etc.

To me, undercover police cars are emblematic of a general us vs. them attitude toward police and policing. Something I especially came across when I was younger was the assumption by the police that I was doing something wrong and my assumption that the police were out to get me. For many minorities in the USA, this is clearly still the case. When police cruisers' identity is hidden it highlights their purpose is to catch people doing wrong.

I know. The police have no legal obligation protect lives. Again, I think that's the wrong approach to policing, but that could be a whole other /r/TrueReddit article and discussion.

I do agree with everything you said. I think the west would be a lot better if the police had some accountability and compassion for the people they are supposed to be protecting. But yes, that is another whole can of worms!

it's already common to use civilian cars. You just look at the plates now

14 points · 1 month ago

All black with black decals really makes it obvious then? Fuck off.

-2 points · 1 month ago

Hello retard

A town in my area got a new fleet of police cruisers. They’re all black with matte black decals.

He knew

Original Poster58 points · 1 month ago

"Israel’s use of consumer drones against protesters heralds a dangerous, lawless age of conflict."

"Israel~~’s use of consumer drones against protesters~~ heralds a dangerous, lawless age of conflict."

-11 points · 1 month ago(19 children)
10 points · 1 month ago

What does "lost" mean?

Israel has lately been pushing for single state.

Which, to me, can only happen if they remove the Palestinians from west bank to Gaza or make them second class citizens.

...couldn't they just make them ordinary citizens? To me that seems like the only acceptable solution- states defined by ethnicity or religion should not exist in the 21st century, and Israel of all places ought to know that.

Israel exists for the express purpose of being a place where Jews can be safe from persecution. Allowing Palestinians to vote Hamas into the Israeli parliament would not fulfill that purpose.

So you write your constitution to forbid discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion. They can vote Hamas in, but persecution would be unconstitutional. No different than when parts of the US elect nutjobs and their nutty propositions get kicked out by the Supreme Court. And, y'know, maybe they wouldn't be so hostile and eager to elect extremists if they were given the dignity and respect accorded to Jews...

Constitutions are pieces of paper. They are remarkably less effective at preventing persecution than armies are.

3 points · 1 month ago

Ah yes, “we think they would persecute us so we actually persecute them” an excellent moral defense.

They pay lip service to that idea but it’s not at all agreed upon internally. The biggest issue for the moderate side which mostly accepts it is that Israel’s “right of return” for Jews could not be maintained if a non-Jewish party gained political power, which it would if Israel ceased to be majority Jewish.

The Palestinians have also been demanding right of return since 1948, which is much more recent than any Jews whose ancestors left Palestine in the 1st century. But if that right were ever granted, the Jews would instantly become a minority.

The biggest issue for the moderate side which mostly accepts it is that Israel’s “right of return” for Jews could not be maintained if a non-Jewish party gained political power, which it would if Israel ceased to be majority Jewish.


But if that right were ever granted, the Jews would instantly become a minority.

So? Jews are a minority everywhere else and they seem to be doing okay. This isn't the early 1900s when mainstream world leaders were contemplating "the Jewish Question". They don't need their own special state any more than white people need a state to preserve their kind.

It’s pretty naive to think that because it’s been 70 years since the last state sponsored genocide of Jews that everything’s changed and nobody will try again. The holocaust wasn’t a one-off and those attitudes are, if anything, on the rise again.

Look how well things have worked out for the Kurds or the Armenians or the Rohingya or the Yazidis.

The international community by and large doesn’t give a fuck about genocide or sectarian violence, the only meaningful protection is to have a guaranteed state that will accept you as a refugee and the means to get there.

-2 points · 1 month ago

oh no, SA told Palestine that. shocking isn't it?

2 points · 1 month ago

Its been a long time coming, and israel has the position of power so there is no reason to give anything up in negotiate.

That begs the question, what does a single state solution look like.

what does a single state solution look like

A secular Israel which treats Palestinians as citizens with the same rights as all other citizens of Israel?

Considering what most Muslims would vote for, that would be a demographic disaster waiting to happen for the Jews. Israel would probably end up like Lebanon or Zimbabwe. Optimistically, it would simply doom Israel with a huge and growing ethnic underclass, leading to even more vicious identity politics and toxic tribalism.

Optimistically, it would simply doom Israel with a huge and growing ethnic underclass, leading to even more vicious identity politics and toxic tribalism.

You have that now! Israel's apartheid keeps Palestinians an ethnic underclass and fuels toxic tribalism among Israelis and Palestinians alike. Defining your state on ethnic lines is the epitome of tribalism.

-1 points · 1 month ago

i don't see Palestine on it

1 point · 1 month ago

Yes...that is what single state means....

I don't see land for them either. They have nothing to trade. The UN condemns Israel but almost everyone trades with it.

Netanyahu may not be PM much longer.

Which means nothing. Putin once famously made an observation about the US that equally applies to Israel: "Presidents change. Policies do not."

If it continues to be conservative, yes.

4 points · 1 month ago · edited 1 month ago

My first thought is: how easy/hard are drones to hack and assume control of?

Edit: apparently not hard

9 points · 1 month ago

an Israeli defense company called ISPRA... [makes] the Cyclone Riot Control Drone System

This company is not without a sense of irony, I see. (Translate "cyclone" into German and see what you get...)


Zyklon, for those with no German lang knowledge.

2 points · 1 month ago

what's the law for shooting down a drone? it's much easier and more likely that they'll just mark their own drones and destroy all other ones. not hard to defeat.

they'll be marking their own in no time

Shooting into the air is generally regarded as "a very bad idea".

people assume these things'll be easy to shoot for some reason. flying things are really really hard to hit even a good shot will miss more than hit. look at what military aa hardware looks like there's a reason they go for the wall of lead approach.

Funny thing is, historically the same thing happened with naval aircraft. Everyone thought they would be way easier to shoot down than they were, and warships had inadequate air defense as a result. As soon as actual naval battles between carriers started happening, nearly every ship was retrofitted with much better anti-aircraft guns.

Not with bullets. Nets and other stuff will be better

According to the FAA, you do not own the air above you, so shooting a hobby aircraft is at minimum vandalism. It's also really illegal to shoot a firearm in an irresponsible manner. Firing in the air, at something that's essentially not a danger to you, and in a public place is reckless.

Versus tear gas drones?

It's a good point, they should have a flag and or a roundel.

Great idea. Flying billboards.

Maybe we can even get knock off drones with like Comcast ads all over it doing asshole things to try and get Comcast in trouble

-30 points · 1 month ago(0 children)
Community Details





A subreddit for [really great, insightful]( articles, [reddiquette](, reading before voting and the hope to generate intelligent discussion on the topics of these articles. --- **Please read the reddiquette and the sidebar before you join.** This subreddit is moderated by its members. Your actions will have an impact. (E.g. don't downvote just because you disagree.)

Create Post
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.