Apr 26, 2012

U.S. Airspace Opened Up to Drones

{Drone: unmanned aerial vehicle}

In February, 2012, Obama signed into law a new funding bill for the FAA that includes a new provision requirement for the FAA to safely integrate drones into US air space.   This raises a bunch of, in my opinion, alarming privacy and national security concerns and I wonder why nobody I talk to has heard anything about it.

The military has been using drones for years and drones have also been in use for border patrol. Within a few weeks, public agencies in America can begin using the drones.  By May 14,  police can use them within a variety of restrictions that will bog down our judicial system rapidly.

The drones will be allowed for private commercial use sometime in the year 2015....
  The FAA is now responsible for devising a plan for the civil use of drones.  How comfortable are you with the FAA defining privacy issues for unmanned aerial vehicles?  Are privacy issues within the definition of the FAA?  Read a provocative report from the Brookings Institute on the FAA's Role in Drone Regulation.

Drone technology includes, among a lot of other things, video surveillance, remote sensing including infrared sensors, electromagnetic wave detectors, biological sensors, and photographic images through a wide variety of substances, including the wall of your house.  While this is helpful in many ways, you can see how this will violate your privacy.

I imagine the legal terms for "unreasonable searches by police" will have to be expanded.  This really will be an interesting animal to observe in the next couple of years.

Listen to a great interview about this subject on NPR.

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