“A rapid adoption of drone technology before properly vetting the safety, privacy and civil liberties issues involved would be a disaster,” said John W. Whitehead, founder of the Rutherford Institute, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell Whitehead was reacting to a radio interview in which McDonnell said that the use of drones in American skies was “great” and “the right thing to do.” The governor said the abilities that made drones effective on a battlefield also would make them effective in America.
Government leaders who understand that their primary duty is protecting the constitutional rights of its citizens,” Whitehead said in his letter. “These drones – aerial, robotic threats to privacy and security – are being unleashed on the American populace before any real protocols to protect our privacy rights have been put in place.” Federal government announced it is beginning to allow public safety agencies to fly unmanned aircraft – drones – with fewer and fewer restrictions. According to a report from Bloomberg, police, fire and other government agencies now are being allowed to fly drones weighing as much as 25 pounds without special approvals previously needed.
The move was an interim step until the agency finishes rules that will open the door for commercial and government operation of drones. Whitehead “law enforcement agencies will find a whole host of clever and innovative ways to use drones to invade our daily lives and wreak havoc on our freedoms, not the least of which will be traffic enforcement and crowd control.”
He said not only can drones spy on people, many of them now are armed. “Vanguard Defense Industries has confirmed that its Shadowhawk drone, which is already being sold to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, will be outfitted with lethal weapons, including a grenade launcher or a shotgun, and weapons of compliance, such as tear gas and rubber buckshot.
Electronic Privacy Information Center, EPIC said it was part of a coalition of more than 100 organizations, experts and others who petitioned the FAA to conduct a formal rule-making procedure on the privacy implications of domestic drone use.
The federal government already has issued 78 certificates for commercial drone operations, along with 273 active government licenses. Among the specifics, EPIC reported: “The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida used federal grant money to purchase a small drone vehicle.