posted on Dec, 7 2012 @ 10:34 PM
They said that they were going to do it and now, it seems as though it has been confirmed.
Records newly released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation reveal the federal government has approved dozens of licenses for unmanned aerial
surveillance drones all across the United States.
“These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),” the
EFF reports, “come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and – for the first time – three branches of the U.S. military:
the Air Force, Marine Corps and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).”
Some of the records show drones used for purposes as sensible as helping the U.S. Forest Service fight forest fires.
Others purposes, such as performing aerial observation of houses when serving warrants or covert surveillance of drug sales, however, have prompted
the EFF to question privacy issues.
Yet some applicants sought FAA approval for multiple drone uses, a potential problem EFF worries could lead to “mission creep.”
For example, Montgomery County, Texas, sought approval to use the thermal imaging abilities of a ShadowHawk drone to support SWAT and narcotics
operations by providing “real time area surveillance of the target during high risk operations.”
The University of Colorado (which the FAA said has received over 200 drone licenses) requested a license in 2008, not just to study meteorological
conditions but also to aid ‘in the study of ad hoc wireless networks with [the drone] acting as communication relays,’” EFF reports. “And
Otter Tail County, Minnesota, wanted to use its drone, not only for ‘engineering and mapping’ but also ‘as requested for law enforcement needs
such as search warrant and search and rescue.’”
Here is a map of drone locations in the records they’ve received so far:
“The WASP II will be used for surveillance missions,” the FAA records state, “for example, search[ing] farm fields for marijuana (the
operator would be stationed on the farm and would use the WASP to see the crop growth from the air), conducting search and rescue in remote areas
(QA’s County has a state park. Searching the river and coves can be difficult because of the high grasses. An aerial view would be of significant
help), surveillance of people of interest (watching open drug market transactions before initiating an arrest), providing aerial observation of houses
when serving warrants.”
Well, looks like the drones are here to stay.
What will be next?
Is this the United States of America or the United States of [insert word of choice here
edit on 7-12-2012 by snarky412 because: (no reason given)