By: Rick McCann
It’s a plane, no it’s a bird, no it’s Superman, no it’s a UFO sort of. It’s the hottest, coolest, newest piece of technology to hit the battlefield on the war on crime, immagration and the surveillance world.
The Spy in the sky, Drone, a wingless flying superspy that can hover, look and watch, take pictures, send video feed and see what the bad guy is doing while the officers control it from the safety of a command vehicle or someplace out of the line of fire is what every law enforcement agency is putting on their wishlist.
The 14 pound, pilotless “Eye In The Sky” is already in use by the Border Patrol along the Arizona desert near Mexico and soon it will be deployed by Customs northward to watch over the Canadian border from it’s new base in North Dakota.
Honeywell International, the drone’s manufacturing has plenty of police departments who want one but there is a little problem that they’re working on. It’s not mechanical or any kind of glitch in their electronics or system but it’s something much worse and much bigger, Uncle Sam.
The FAA, The Federal Aviation Administration must approve it’s use and right now they haven’t given their seal of approval.
Citing numerous safety concerns, the FAA — the government agency responsible for regulating civil aviation — has been slow in developing procedures for the use of UAVs by police departments.
“You don’t want one of these coming down on grandma’s windshield when she’s on her way to the grocery store,” said Doug Davis, the FAA’s program manager for unmanned aerial systems.
He acknowledged strong interest from law enforcement agencies in getting UAVs up and running, however, and said the smaller aircraft particularly were likely to have a “huge economic impact” over the next 10 years.
But testing of this technology is underway to insure it’s safety and as soon as the go ahead is given it looks as though the Miami Dade Police will be the first law enforcement agency to deploy one in their area of the Florida Everglades. Other departments are sure to follow but the American Civil Liberties Union said that there are concerns about privacy issues and the eye watching someone who has not broken any laws and are not the subject of any investigations and now they become a victim of the Big Brother Peeping Tom. Legislation has to be drawn up and some guidelines on it’s use must be in place before police agencies start putting these things in the sky watching whoever, whenever and invading people’s right to privacy.
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