Back in May I stumbled across this video of columnist Charles Krauthammer expressing his desire that use of unmanned drones in the U.S. be banned completely.
“I’m going to go hard left on you here, I’m going ACLU,” syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said in opposition to the use of drones on the U.S. homeland. “I don’t want regulations, I don’t want restrictions, I want a ban on this. Drones are instruments of war. The Founders had a great aversion to any instruments of war, the use of the military inside even the United States. It didn’t like standing armies, it has all kinds of statutes of using the army in the country.”
Charles Feldman of KNX 1070 in Los Angeles came across Air Force documents that cause concern.
A non-classified U.S. Air Force intelligence report obtained by KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO dated April 23, 2012, is helping fuel concern that video and other data inadvertently captured by Air Force drones already flying through some U.S. airspace, might end up in the hands of federal or local law enforcement, doing an end-run around normal procedures requiring police to obtain court issued warrants.
Jim Galloway has been writing about drones for some time now including this article about their potential use in metro-Atlanta.
Georgia Tech has been doing research into drones and sought approval from the FAA to use them to monitor traffic after football games. They were denied.
Last week the drone industry released a code of ethics:
Released by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the guidelines focus on three principals: safety, professionalism and respect. They include promises that the industry will properly test all drones before flight, comply with all laws governing aircraft, respect the privacy of individuals and work to better educate the public.
“Acceptance and adherence to this code will contribute to safety and professionalism and will accelerate public confidence in these systems,” the association said in a statement.
“We’re not opposed to the use of drones. But their use has to be consistent with the established rules with regard to search and seizure. The same thing that you would have to obtain to use a wiretap, you would have to have for the use of a drone,” Scott said. “This has the potential to be a huge invasion.”
Rich Lowery of National Review writes that the panic over drones is “Luddism masquerading as civil libertarianism.”
As drones proliferate for commercial and other private uses, it is foolish to expect law enforcement to forgo them. Already, the Border Patrol uses drones down at the border. One day we will marvel that there was a time when a police drone wasn’t first on the scene of a shooting. Or a time when we had high-speed car chases, endangering everyone else on the road, instead of a drone following the suspect from the air.
Ultimately, it is not the technology that matters, but the use to which it is put. A can of pepper spray is technologically unsophisticated. Yet it can be an instrument of cruelty if wielded arbitrarily by a cop. The drone is potentially a powerful tool. Vigilance is advisable; panic is silly.
So what’s your take? Is this simply a case of law needing to catch up to rapidly developing technology or is it yet another step toward our inevitable destruction by the very technology we’ve created.
BTW, when I ask the opinion of Peach Pundit readers I always reserve the right to ignore what is said and do what I want. Invariably a comment will appear informing me “the people have spoken Buzz!” I’ll listen to what’s said here and form my own opinion. 🙂