Do UAV's present the further actions of a police state
It seems that the noose is tightening around the throat of freedom in America.
By the year 2020 there will be an estimated 30,000 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles deployed over US civilian air space. If this does not concern you, I don’t know what will. On Monday July, 23nd the issues of individual privacy, licensing, the proper agency for this oversight, funding, and the potential for security invasion of the internal systems were discussed.
Both the FAA and DHS were conspicuously absent from the testimonies and appearances of those who made presentations and appeals for this kind of technology. DHS has come under fire recently for not assigning a specific group or department for direct oversight into a particularly disturbing consideration of the UAV deployment.
Potential For Being Hijacked
According to Doctor Todd Humphreys of the University of Texas, the possibility of the GPS and internal communications capability of these unmanned drones to be compromised is a major concern. He and his staff conducted a number of tests at UTA stadium to demonstrate that a spoofer (hacker) could intercept the wireless control over a UAV from the controller of the drone, even send a ghost signal to that party leading them to believe that their platform was on the correct heading while taking over it over and doing with it whatever they want. The implications of this form of invasive control issue is clearly a threat.
Of course Law Enforcement want more
Although a chief sheriff’s deputy from Harris County, the second largest county in Texas with a 1000 mile expanse testified that the UAV would be a great addition to the arsenal of law enforcement inventory, he pointed out that it would also be a great public safety tool. Yet, many questions were raised over the violation of individual privacy, authorities taking apprehension procedures with due process of warrants for arrest. That the unrestricted use of such unmanned platforms would involve unauthorized tracking of individuals not under suspicion of criminal activity.
Amy Stepanovich of the Electronic Privacy Center expressed concerns over the UAV being used to violate the Constitutional rights of American citizens, to be used to excessively monitor public activities, and violate the sanctity of people’s homes.
Don't let it stand in the way of welfare now
Of Course Democratic Congressmen who addressed their concerns were primarily worried about budgetary considerations impacting the funding for their social programs such as welfare and food stamps. At which point they were reassured that the cost of UAV’s is far less than the expense of buying a helicopter, training a pilot, and the subsequent maintenance of such an acquisition. This should not infringe upon federal charity programs.
Currently most $8,000.00 civilian agency models, not hobbyist models, are 13 pounds and are line of sight technology. The state of the art will surely change between now and 2020 making drones even more sophisticated with more capabilities. Concerns that the spoofer’s ability to redirect a UAV to a different location that could cause a collision with other aircraft or other facilities were mentioned. There has even been an attempt by a domestic terrorist who was going to launch a privately purchased UAV with armament to attack the White House and the Pentagon with.
Right to privacy what rights?
More than anything else, as legislators bantered about the legal aspects, threats, and concerns of citizens, there was the mention by one Congressmen that the Supreme Court has already ruled on the issue of law enforcement’s infringement upon a citizen’s right to privacy, and of course the prospects for the advocacy of those rights does not look good. Chief Deputy for the Sheriff’s office of Harris county answered a question posted that yes indeed a person sitting in their front yard smoking a marijuana joint could be arrested based upon observations from a UAV. While at the same time denied that UAV’s were the right tool for detecting the growing of marijuana on private acreage, claiming the investment for a drone was better served for other purposes. More government double speak.
Undeniable evidence of a police state
I think no matter how much they discuss the use of UAV’s by federal and state agencies, the deployment of 30,000 drones by the year 2020 represents a staggering revelation of the increased proliferation of police state technology to further monitor citizen activity. Yet, while increasing the possibility for the potentially dangerous compromise of these drones by spoofers that could represent a threat to the public. Once again we are subjected to the excess of government sanctioned surveillance with only increased potential for harm to citizens rather than the protection we are continually promised.