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Friday, March 22, 2013

Drones – Bigger (and Smaller) Than You Think 


Early on during Rand Paul’s filibuster, I posted the following:

I think the Rand Paul filibuster now in progress may become a seminal moment in American politics.  And that not only because it is an actual old-fashion talking filibuster not seen in years.  There aren’t many issues on which Americans are united, but domestic drones is one such issue.  Left, right, or in between, people do not want drones flying over their houses.

And I think drones are becoming a big issue.  And, yes, it actually does cross party and ideological lines. One of many examples: I never thought the day would come when I would quote Sen. Pat Leahy (D-People’s Republic of Vermont) favorably, but he has said, “While there may be many valuable uses for this new technology, the use of unmanned aircraft raises serious concerns about the impact on the constitutional and privacy rights of American citizens.”

Bill Straub has written the best summary I've seen of the issues surrounding domestic drones.  Drones are both interesting (mosquito-sized drones?!?) and useful.  But I and many Americans do not want their properties spied on by them.  One poll even has almost half of Americans thinking they have the right to shoot drones flying over their properties without their permission.

I’m not ready to shoot one quite yet.  But I am ready to raise hell if I see one flying over my property.  And I am far from alone.

The Rand Paul filibuster is only the beginning of domestic drones as a big political issue.  I predict they will be a big issue in the 2016 presidential election.

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Comments:
I live in the DFW area. Arlington, Texas is going to be flying some drones. The reputed primary purposes are to survey traffic accidents and assist in criminal chases.

As to the first purpose, the police state that they can use their drone to photograph an accident site when needed much quicker than doing it at ground level. This will allow the involved vehicles to be moved out much faster. I think that is good.

The second purpose is for incidences where a suspect has lost themselves amongst houses, trees, shrubs, etc. I can attest that more than one police department has lost suspects they have been pursuing. I don't mind to a degree. What I don't like is that they may try to use information gathered incident to the primary use to do something to people which I believe would be a Constitutional violation.

The discussion on the domestic use of drones is going to be interesting and complicated.
 
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