(image by John Biehler)
So you still believe you're not living in a surveillance state? Well think again.
The Federal Aviation Administration just published a 74 page plan whereby law enforcement agencies, businesses, universities and hobbyists can begin flying drones in the U.S. by 2015.
No longer confined for use by the military and the CIA in missions to kill terrorist suspects in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia where hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocents have been killed in drone strikes. As we know even American citizens have been placed on "kill lists" by the White House as happened in 2011 in Yemen with the killing of American Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki and even his American born 17 year old son. Apparently, in little over a year these unmanned surveillance and aerial attack vehicles will be flying overhead in our not so friendly skies.
Not that it's all so surprising. There's a familiar habit when it comes to technology. Simply put if it can be developed and made operational, it will be.
And whether that technologies operation is legal, constitutional, ethically and morally correct or for any other reason to consider, that'll just have to wait.
Whether the public has been considered, polled and a dialogue initiated between the government and the people occurs, before this new technology is made operational, is still another matter.
When it comes to this new technology being operational, what is the purpose? In the case of drones if they're used for surveillance purposes, are they going to target people indiscriminately without specific and reasonable suspicion? What about the information and videos taken and gathered; where will it be stored, with what agencies and how long will it be kept by them?
Police helicopters have been around for years and used to target suspects until ground based vehicles can apprehend them. Are helicopters to be replaced with drones? And when used by the police will the drones be capable of using deadly force? How would drones equipped to use deadly force be legal in a system that says one is innocent until proven guilty?
And what are universities, businesses and hobbyists doing in the mix of this new drone extravaganza?
Are universities going to target students to curb teenage drinking, see who is attending class or who might be lurking in the woods nearby?
What sort of businesses will be approved; the Wal-Marts, Home Depot's and the people in their parking lots suspected of being shoplifters?
And with the hobbyists; are drones going to replace model airplanes? Will these "hobbyists" flying their drones be allowed to act as neighborhood watch volunteers and act as "good citizen" vigilantes particularly in "stand your ground" states and if someone looks suspicious and dangerous to the "hobbyist" drone operator as being dangerous, will he be able to justify using deadly force in self defense. Is that too over the top?
From here it's all madness but maybe the majority of people will approve the FAA's plan on drone use. In polls a majority of Americans support the use of drones in our overseas military type operations saying it doesn't put our soldiers in harms way.
Isn't such thinking an indicator the majority have become accustomed to the use of drones in our foreign encounters and their domestic use is just a foregone conclusion and so be it.
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