Drones could fly in U.S. skies

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 6:23 pm | Updated: 10:25 pm, Sat May 4, 2013.

SARASOTA – Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster on the U.S. Senate floor decried the use of drone aircraft on American soil. Many people do not know they're used in the U.S., but in February 2012, Congress passed a law that opens the door not only for local police agencies to use them, but even private companies.

They could prove great to be great tools, but also, critics say, a great danger.

You just can't let people loose with drones,” says Pete Tannen, President of the ACLU Sarasota-Manatee-Desoto Chapter. “If anybody can buy a drone, like anybody can buy a Taser, we've got serious problems of controlling our privacy.”

The FAA Reauthorization Act directs the FAA to develop regulations for commercial drones by 2015. It lets public agencies fly them.

People we asked about this on Main Street in Sarasota Thursday worried about how drones might be used, but some saw their benefits, too. “I don't like the idea of big brother, looking after us,” says Aliki Gable. “But if it was an issue of security or catching somebody who did something wrong after the fact, I could see the benefits.”

“They can't just unilaterally use them whenever they want to,” says Dave Pfautz. “There has to be reason, justification, rules and regulations.” Is he confident there would be those rules and regulations? “No.”

Will the rules governing drones include how people or police can use them? Are they only for surveillance? Or, as used to target terrorists in places like Pakistan, as weapons?

“Do people envision people putting machine guns or tear gas on drones when they're used by law enforcement?” Tannen asks.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office says it has no plans to use drones, and has not considered what their benefits might be.

With other surveillance tools already common – security cameras in stores, red light cameras on streets, satellites in skies – is the battle for privacy already lost? To a large extent, yes, Tannen believes. "But let's try to keep the privacy we have left,” he says.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.

2 comments:

  • Sam Kephart posted at 10:30 pm on Sat, Mar 16, 2013.

    Sam Kephart Posts: 3

    Domestic drone usage is ill-conceived, elitist, and end-runs our inherent Constitutional protections.

    Here are two (2), very well-produced, videos that anchor my points:

    Emmy Award-winning newscaster Shad Olson’s ‘The Great Drone Debate’, featuring US Senator John Thune:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssoOASanKao

    Here’s a mind-blowing, well-done animated short that really captures our collective angst that if the road to hades is paved with good intentions, then domestic drones are a superhighway to an Orwellian panoptic gulag.

    http://vimeo.com/59689349

    For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through “data fusion centers.” 

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

    America’s promise has always been the power of the many to rule, instead of the one. Ungoverned drone usage, particularly domestically, gives power to the one. 

     
  • Sam Kephart posted at 11:29 am on Sat, Mar 9, 2013.

    Sam Kephart Posts: 3

    Drone usage promises to aid the identification, monitoring, capture, and if need be execution of terrorists and others who represent a clear and present danger to the United States.

    Further, an ever-increasing number of U. S. citizens at home and abroad wish us harm, so they are included, without distinction, as potential targets.

    The problem is the current rules for drone usage lack clear definitions for the operational terms “material support,” "The potential intelligence value of the individual,” and the all-inclusive phrase "Such other matters as the President considers appropriate.” It’s Catch-22 with no way out.

    Under the law as currently written, any U. S. citizen who is a war protester, publicly exhibits anti-government sentiments, is a Tea Party activist, or a political opponent of a given Administration could fall (or be made to fall) under one or more ill-defined and ambiguous conditions and therefore be deemed an "enemy combatant".

    If the Feds believe you are committing a “suspicious activity” or “supporting hostilities,” you can be hauled off and held indefinitely in military custody with neither legal recourse nor due process. Your Constitutional rights to free speech and personal liberties would disappear with the stroke of a hidden pen.

    Cleverly invented to counter growing terrorism, drones usage offers no controls nor checks and balances to prevent them from being used for politically nefarious purposes.

    Imagine what Richard Nixon would have done if he’d had such peremptory or discretionary presidential authority? Any of his antagonists, like Daniel Ellsberg, would have monitored by domestic drones... and then Ellsberg would have been picked up and held for providing “material support” to the enemy in a time of war.

    There are currently no discernible safeguards to prevent a paranoid and power hungry President (think Johnson, Nixon, or Obama), or his/her national security team, from using drone technology as a threat and/or punishment to political enemies, particularly given the exigencies of war or a domestic emergency like 9/11.

    For national security purposes, Americans are already subject to warrantless wiretaps of calls and emails, the warrantless GPS “tagging” of their vehicles, the domestic use of Predators or other spy-in-the-sky drones, and the Department of Homeland Security’s monitoring of all our behavior through “data fusion centers.”

    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/

    Given this toxic mashup of losses of privacy, if the road to perdition is paved with good intentions, then domestic drones are a superhighway to an Orwellian panoptic gulag.

    America’s promise has always been the power of the many to rule, instead of the one. Ungoverned drone usage, particularly domestically, gives power to the one.

    Domestic drone usage is ill-conceived, elitist, and end-runs our inherent Constitutional protections.

    Here are two (2) different videos that anchor my points:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssoOASanKao

    http://vimeo.com/59689349

     

SUBMIT PHOTOS & VIDEOS | VIEW ALL PHOTOS & VIDEOS

Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.