I read today that the nascent domestic drone industry is under serious threat! From where might these threats come? Is it foreign agents or even terrorists going after the domestic drone industry?
Well, according to The Hill.com, there is a two-pronged attack on the nascent industry coming from over a dozen states and from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as various state legislatures and Senator Leahy’s Senate Judiciary Committee weigh restrictions on domestic drone use. The tone of the drone industry seems to be one of surprise (!) that unmanned aerial surveillance by government might stir privacy and civil liberty protection concerns among the citizenry, let alone state and national leaders.
The industry’s Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) – which is headed by a Northrop Grumman Executive – sees no problems.
“It would really deny law enforcement agencies this extra tool they can use to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively,” said Gretchen West, the executive vice president of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).
This newest “extra” tool offered up for law enforcement can be as small as a hummingbird and camera equipped, or be the 55 pound Shadow Hawk and carry a 40mm grenade launcher and 12ga shotgun.
The AUVSI’s West is not insensitive to certain Orwellian implications of the domestic drone but prefers to deflect attention about the all seeing Big-Brother-in-the-sky feature. For her, it’s more a language thing.
West said she doesn’t use the word “drone” when talking about the domestic variety because it only feeds the idea that the military versions of the aircraft are coming to America. “There really is a sensationalism connected to the word ‘drone,’ so we don't use it,” she said.
AUVSI’s West also says they are efficient to operate and not capable of persistent surveillance. And in these tough budget times some drones can be flown for as little as $25.00 per hour.
So, in other words, just relax! Privacy and civil liberties may be violated on the cheap,but taxes remain low and it will only persist until the batteries run out.