by J. D. Heyes | Natural News
Travelers to any mid-to-large city in the U.S. have seen the scores of so-called “traffic cameras” sitting atop signal lights at intersections. They’ve seen them lurking on buildings and byways in cities and towns. Surveillance cameras, it seems nowadays, are literally everywhere.
Well, the Surveillance Society is about to expand across America, according to recent reports, and in ways once thought unimaginable in a country that was founded on a few key principles of liberty and freedom, one of them being the expectation of privacy, especially when there are no legitimate reasons for being watched.
Thousands of drones will soon be filling skies all across the U.S., according to several lawmakers who are opposed to, and uncomfortable with, plans in the works to allow drones to proliferate, and not all of them will belong to various government entities. What’s more, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Management noted during a committee hearing in July that the Department of Homeland Security was recommended by the Government Accountability Office nearly four years ago to take the lead on the regulating of drone usage around the country, but that DHS – which did not send a representative to testify – has so far dodged the recommendation.
Tens of thousands on the way?
Absent those recommendations, Human Events magazine reported, the Federal Aviation Administration - which actually has been tasked by lawmakers to develop drone regulations – estimates as many as 30,000 drones will be licensed and put into use by 2020.
“People can accept that these [drones] are being used for a manhunt, as we use law enforcement helicopters … in the sky for various law enforcement purposes,” McCaul said during the hearing. “What they don’t want to see is sort of spying without any mission involved in the plan.”
Interestingly, noted privacy expert Amie Stepanovich, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), during the hearing, DHS has one of the strongest privacy offices in the federal government, but it has been absent on the potential for surveillance abuse represented by so many drones.
In fact, she said last month, the office hasn’t even performed a privacy assessment yet.
“We think that would be a great first step, and after that has been completed, to really go in to monitor [drones] and determine what they can be used for and what they cannot be used for,” she told the panel.
Yes, for starters, at least.