Drones are taking to the skies in the U.S.
Federal authorities step up efforts to license surveillance aircraft for law enforcement and other uses, amid growing privacy concerns.
If this doesn’t get you fired up, nothing will. While we sit around bitching and moaning about our loss of freedoms, they are taking every last vestige of freedom we have left. We can blog about it until the freaking cows come home and they’ll still do it, that’s why we’re in the trouble we are . I suggest we take it local and petition our city council to outlaw drones for law enforcement use or at the very least making them illegal without a search warrant. C’mon people, where’s our line in the sand or are we so whipped at this point that we don’t have one? – Phoebe
The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday it had issued 1,428 permits to domestic drone operators since 2007, far more than were previously known. Some 327 permits are still listed as active.
Local and state law enforcement agencies are expected to be among the largest customers.
That’s the problem, according to civil liberties groups. The technology is evolving faster than the law. Congress and courts haven’t determined whether drone surveillance would violate privacy laws more than manned planes or helicopters, or whether drone operators may be held liable for criminal trespassing, stalking or harassment.
“Americans have the right to know if and how the government is using drones to spy on them,” said Catherine Crump, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has called for updating laws to protect privacy.
A backlash has already started.
In Congress, Reps. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) introduced privacy legislation Thursday that would require police to get a warrant or a court order before operating a drone to collect information on individuals.
“We need to protect against obtrusive search and surveillance by government and civilian use,” Poe said in a telephone interview. A similar bill failed last year.
Legislatures in 15 states are considering proposals to limit drone use. The City Council in Charlottesville, Va., passed a resolution on Feb. 4 barring local police from using drones — which they don’t yet have — to collect evidence in criminal cases.
Federal agencies fly drones to assist in disasters, check flood damage, do crop surveys and more. U.S. Customs and Border Protection flies the largest fleet, 10 unarmed Predators, along the northern and southern borders to help track smugglers and illegal immigrants. (How’s that working for us? – Phoebe)
Except in rare cases, the military is barred from using drones in U.S. airspace to conduct surveillance or pursue individuals. No state or federal agency has proposed arming domestic drones with weapons, but the prospect has raised alarms in Congress and elsewhere. (What’s the exceptions? – Phoebe)
Again, I ask, where’s your line in the sand? – Phoebe