Editor’s Note – Drone use is a very troublesome thing to Americans here at home. We can say that because anything written about drones goes straight to the top of everyone’s reading lists and Facebook posts.
If there was ever a better symbol of “big brother”, its a drone flying over a farm for the EPA, or a police raid in North Dakota. See our previous post entitled: “Drones – Coming to the sky near you.”
If you think its just here and there, read about how prolific the drone bases are in the USA:
From the Danger Room – We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it’s closer than we thought. There are 64 drone bases on American soil. That includes 12 locations housing Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which can be armed.
Public Intelligence, a non-profit that advocates for free access to information, released a map of military UAV activities in the United States on Tuesday. Assembled from military sources — especially this little-known June 2011 Air Force presentation (.pdf) – it is arguably the most comprehensive map so far of the spread of the Pentagon’s unmanned fleet. What exact missions are performed at those locations, however, is not clear. Some bases might be used as remote cockpits to control the robotic aircraft overseas, some for drone pilot training. Others may also serve as imagery analysis depots.
…Privacy concerns aside, the biggest issue might be safety, as we were been reminded on Monday when a giant Navy drone crashed in Maryland.
Check out the interactive map of these bases here.
Senator Paul is spot on here. The militarization of law enforcement needs to have some form of brakes applied. The lines between the military and law enforcement are getting mighty blurry. See “Posse Comitatus Act”, and make up your own mind.
By Pete Kasperowicz – The Hill
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, which would require the government to get a warrant before using aerial drones to surveil U.S. citizens.
More broadly, Paul’s bill is aimed at preventing “unwarranted governmental intrusion” through the use of drones, according to the lawmaker.
“Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued,” Paul said Tuesday. “Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics.”
The bill, S. 3287, would require the government to obtain a warrant to use drones with the exception of patroling national borders, when drones are needed to prevent “imminent danger to life” or when there are risks of a terrorist attack.
The bill would also give Americans the ability to sue the government for violating the act. And, it would prohibit evidence collected with warrantless drone surveillance from being used as evidence in court.
While drone surveillance in the United States would undoubtedly prove controversial, the use of drones is currently a topic of international concern. Some Democrats have said the use of drones to disrupt terrorist networks is hurting America’s image overseas.
Additionally, the United Nations is considering an investigation into drone airstrikes inside Pakistan, which could focus on the rate of civilian casualties caused by these attacks.
Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move toward allowing drones to fly alongside commercial aircraft in U.S. airspace by 2015.
The FAA is planning a pilot program to test fly drones in six locations, but will not set the rules for what the unmanned aircraft can be used for.
Law enforcement agencies and state and local governments have expressed a strong interest in unmanned aircraft, and are being courted as potential customers by the booming drone industry.
There is opposition, however, from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that have raised concerns about the impact of the drones on privacy.