A drone is not a drone at home

 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.  

4 thoughts on “A drone is not a drone at home

  1. along the lines of the NRA.  Once they’ve saturated law enforcement, it will be time to market to paranoids at large.

    We’ll start hearing stuff about having the right to these things under some convoluted interpretation of the constitution.

    “Freedom of information,” perhaps?

  2. I did a little search, wondering who manufactured the Predator (armed) drones.  

    General Atomics is a defense contractor in San Diego with quite the interesting pedigree.  

    Yet another pair of brothers are involved:  Neal and Linden Blue from Colorado.  

    The linked page is entertaining if you poke around

    1955: General Atomics (GA) is formed as a unit of General Dynamics.

    1958: TRIGA research reactor prototype is produced.

    1959: John Jay Hopkins Laboratory is dedicated at Torrey Pines.

    1967: Gulf Oil acquires GA.

    1974: Royal Dutch/Shell becomes equal partner in GA with Gulf.

    1982: Gulf Oil buys Royal Dutch/Shell’s holding in GA.

    1986: Denver investors Neal and Linden Blue acquire GA. for $60 million

    1992: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) is formed.

    1994: Predator UAV makes its first flight; GA-ASI is spun off.

    2002: Predator makes headlines during hunt for Taliban in Afghanistan.

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