Should Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles [UAV]) be used by the Department of Homeland Security to determine whether American citizens are armed or track them through their mobile phones? Although the "eyes in the sky" were previously used for "overseas military operations", a "growing number of law enforcement agencies" are using them for domestic surveillance.
Declan McCullagh from cnet reports that the specifications for the UAVs were acquired by cnet, which reveals the aircrafts' "surveillance capabilities." The UAVs "shall be capable of identifying a standing human being at night as likely armed or not," can "specify 'signals interception' technology that can capture communications in the frequency ranges used by mobile phones, and [are equipped with] 'direction finding' technology that can identify the locations of mobile devices or two-way radios."
President Obama signed legislation last year that "directs the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to throw American airspace wide open to drones by September 30, 2015." As of yet, there are no laws regulating the use of UAVs. The potential privacy-crushing ramifications are obvious and all Americans should demand that legislation is passed to ensure that the rights of law-abiding citizens are not trampled.
Micro Aerial Vehicles
As if that is not creepy enough, the UAV has an up-and-coming cousin, the MAV, or "Micro Aerial Vehicle" which be armed with "incapacitating chemicals, combustible payloads or even explosives 'for precision targeting capability,'" as reported last month by Michael Zennie of the Daily Mail. A truly terrifying article by John Horgan of National Geographic, reveals that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has "challenged researchers" to create MAVs "that mimic the size and behavior of bugs and birds." How much is this research costing taxpayers?
Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation worried that this "could violate Fourth Amendment rights as well as Second Amendment rights." With an apathetic citizenry, it is only a matter of time before the use of this technology becomes an intrusion on the rights of Americans. It is time that people pay attention.
Image Source: U.S. Air Force via TavernKeepers