The Obama administration has just green-lighted drone technology for local law enforcement amid widespread privacy concerns.
The agency, on its website, said that government “entities” will have to obtain a special certificate in order to fly the aircraft, adding that the FAA is “streamlining the process for public agencies to safely fly (drones) in the nation’s airspace.”
In doing so, the government is taking a tool that has become synonymous with U.S. counterterror warfare in countries like Pakistan and Yemen — and putting it in the hands of U.S. law enforcement.
Unlike some of the drones used overseas, these will not be equipped with missiles. They are to be used purely for surveillance. But that alone has raised serious privacy concerns on Capitol Hill and beyond.
“Our Founding Fathers had no idea that there would be remote-control drones with television monitors that can feed back live data instantaneously — but if they had, they would have made darn sure … that these things were subject to the Fourth Amendment (protecting individual privacy),” Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, told Fox News.
Airline pilots worry that there’s currently no system that allows operators of unmanned aircraft to spot and avoid helicopters and planes, Bloomberg reported.
He said that he didn’t want to see regulations, or restrictions on the use of drones in the United States – he wants to see a ban.
I would predict, (I’m not encouraging it!) but I’ll predict that the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that has been hovering over his house, is going to be a folk hero in this country.
Re shooting drones out of the sky — it’s already been done!:
A remote-controlled aircraft owned and operated by an animal rights group called SHARK, was reportedly shot down near Broxton Bridge Plantation, South Carolina, on Sunday.
Steve Hindi, president of SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness), said his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.
“It didn’t work; what SHARK was doing was perfectly legal,” Hindi said in a news release. “Once they knew nothing was going to stop us, the shooting stopped and the cars lined up to leave.”
Hindi said the animal rights group decided to send the drone up anyway but that seconds after it hit the air “numerous shots rang out.”
“As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter.”
He claimed the shooters were “in tree cover” and “fled the scene on small motorized vehicles.”
Thanks to commenter, Callawyn.