Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:02 PM
phantom power (25,672 posts)
Restricting Drones Before Use of the Technology for Total Surveillance Becomes Normal
The movement to restrict drone use by law enforcement, colleges, universities, government agencies, businesses and private individuals is having an impact because those behind it are concerned about what the world will be like in the future and not what it is like now. Those raising concerns about drones are focused on what a future world where drones engage in wholesale surveillance and dominate United States airspace could be like. They recognize the time to have lawmakers take action is now, not later when the drone industry has fully grown and become a fixture in American industry and a special interest that holds political leaders captive.
All of which is why this editorial from The Economist deserves attention. As evidenced by the cartoon showing a drone overlooking an older gentleman reading Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, the board of editors does not share the same fears of civil liberties advocates. They are coolly and somewhat glibly dismissive of concerns people have because the world of which advocates are afraid does not exist yet.
…Their fears are centred on the prospect of surveillance. Since drones can be far cheaper to buy than helicopters—tens of thousands of dollars, as against a few million—the worry is that cameras will be sent up into the sky far more frequently. Even if they are not on a deliberate spy mission, they may capture incidental footage that leads to an investigation, such as evidence of marijuana plantations. Still, at least in Mesa County, the drones have been used for search and rescue efforts and photographing crime scenes. “We’re not spying on everybody,” says Mr Miller. “We haven’t done a single surveillance mission.”
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