Imminent proliferation of drones in American skies requires widespread civilian debate

by J. D. Heyes, Natural News  |  published on March 31, 2013

The country is set to become a nation of drones in the coming years, as experts predict an explosion of unmanned aerial vehicles numbering in the tens of thousands that will literally turn the U.S. into the surveillance society futurists have warned about.

What’s more, not all of these drones will be operated by government and police agencies; in fact, the vast majority will likely be in private hands. And Congress, as usual, has shirked its Legislative Branch duty to ensure the integrity of Americans’ constitutional privacy protections by punting that responsibility to unelected bureaucrats at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Lawmakers have ordered the FAA to open up U.S. skies to drones by 2015, as well as devise the rules that will govern their use. Industry experts believe the decision will “see thousands of drones criss-crossing the sky within a few years,” the Agence France Presse reported March 18.

Naturally, there are members of the Autobot Society – scores of mindless Kool-Aid drinkers who support only those provisions of the Constitution that serves their personal interests and beliefs – singing the praises of this impending privacy disaster. The point to using drones to help find people who are lost, tracking wildfires, identifying criminals, mapping inhospitable terrain, and other tasks that are currently being performed by other aerial assets as reason to surrender what’s left of our privacy.

“The possibilities … are endless,” Ryan Calo, an expert in law and emerging technology at Stanford University’s Center for Internet and Society, told AFP. “What are drones but flying smartphones, one app away from indispensable? We could see drones accompanying early morning joggers, taking sport, wildlife and other photography to a new level.”

The Association for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (AUVSI) – yes, there is an “association” now for drones – says proliferation of UAVs can “save money, time and lives” in civilian life. Then, of course, there is the employment angle: The association says massive drone growth will create 100,000 new jobs by 2025, adding billions of dollars to the economy.

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