Didn't hear anyone yell "Fore," yet wonder if that is a golf ball in the sky? It's not; it's a drone and it's coming. Judge Andrew P. Napolitano warned about the "coming use of drones - some as small as golf balls - to watch us, listen to us and record us. Did you consent to the government having that power? Did you consent to the American military spying on Americans in America? I don't know a single person who has, but I know only a few who are complaining."
Although Secrecy News reported the Senate Armed Services Committee said drones need to operate 'freely and routinely' in America, you can add Senator Rand Paul to that "few" who are raising a ruckus about drones. Senator Paul proposed a bill to prevent warrantless drone surveillance. He said, "The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect American's personal privacy. Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics."
"A drone is a very, very powerful way of snooping on behavior," Sen. Paul told CNN. "I don't want drones roaming across, crisscrossing our cities and our country snooping on Americans. And that's the surveillance state that I'm very concerned about. And that's what our bill would stop."
Discussing Congress fast-tracking domestic drone use, the ACLU said it can "push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance." The EFF has warned us about the risks drones pose to privacy and called for "activism at the local level" to help stop drones snooping on Americans. To the FAA, EPIC also stressed "the need for transparency and accountability in drone operations, and recommended the development of privacy protections before drones are more widely deployed in the US." As suggested previously while discussing local police drones, bug-sized spies and Big Brother's prying eyes, when the EFF, ACLU and EPIC all sound red alert drone surveillance warnings, if you care about your privacy then it would be wise to heed it.
Ok, so it's not real . . . yet. But recall those videos released by Call of Duty Black Ops 2 that showed Anonymous as cyber-terrorists hacking drones for targeted killings? The fictional drone inspired the military and the Pentagon to "consider pursuing the same drone in real life," Popular Science reported. Peter Singer, Brookings Institute 21st Century Defense Initiative director and a "guru" about drones, said, "It was funny to see the real world start to catch up with things we were playing with on the fictional side."
This North Dakota farmer doesn't think it's "funny." As the first American arrested with help from predator drone surveillance, Rodney Brossart might not have had drones shooting at him, but the SWAT team leader said the drone helped make the arrest "safer." Slate reported that Brossart's lawyer is arguing "the warrantless use of unmanned surveillance aircraft" was unlawful on Fourth Amendment grounds. He "wants the case dropped, citing 'outrageous governmental conduct, unlawful surveillance, illegal seizures and searches, unconstitutional application of North Dakota law, vindictive prosecution, and other statutory and constitutional injury'."
That brings us back to Sen. Rand Paul's bill to "protect Americans against unwarranted drone surveillance." Additionally, EPIC pointed at a new report which concluded the "border surveillance drone program is inefficient and ineffective." Are you brave enough to find out how your local police intend to use drones? The EFF is asking us to help find out precisely that and have made inquiring about drone surveillance as simple as possible.
While talking about a new $300,000 ShadowHawk drone, Montgomery County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel told the Houston Chronicle, "It's an exciting piece of equipment for us." He added that in the future, the "drone could be equipped to carry nonlethal weapons such as Tasers or a bean-bag gun." To which The New American said, "Taser and bean-bag guns today; Hellfire missiles and machine guns tomorrow."
While you are thinking about that, would you see a small drone the size of a golf ball or even something this small if it was peeping in your window? Consider it while listening to the James Bond Theme performed by these nine flying little quadrotors.
Possibly cute now, but not if they were fitted with cameras and microphones and spying on you.
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Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. Smith has a diverse background in information technology, programming, web development, IT consulting, and information security. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.
Smith is an independent contractor and is not affiliated with any vendor that makes or sells information technology.
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