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Obama wants Drones in US Skies

It seems each week, our civil liberties are continually being attacked. This week further affirms this point. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, can now –– thanks to a bill signed by President Barack Obama Tuesday –– fly in American skies with less regulation than before. These devices have been used in combating terrorism and locating key al-Qaeda figures, such as Osama bin Laden. They are able to fly, highly undetected, at high altitudes and project clear video of subjects from great distances. They require no physical person to be within them, but rather are controlled from hundreds, if not thousands of miles, away by operators.

Now, the Department of Homeland Security and law enforcement agencies in the United States can more easily begin to use these devices on U.S. soil. We have brought the weapons of war home and have turned them on our own citizens. Police departments in Texas, Florida and Colorado have been using drones but now are able to begin increasing their reliance on the devices. In the 2012 budget requests, the Pentagon requested $5 billion from Congress to be designated for drones. To get a picture of what the future might look like: Imagine thousands of planes equipped with cameras and guns circling overhead monitoring citizens. This was once a distance Orwellian future, right? The fiction dystopian future of British novelists is quickly becoming present-day America.

The Federal Aviation Administration backed and spearheaded the decision. It seems that the lobbying and special interest groups have worked their magic on Congress, and the bill was passed and signed by the president with little resistance. How has this happened, you ask? Well, it is happening the same way the Patriot Act did, as the “War on Terror” did and the same way the National Defense Authorization Act did. Can we truly say we are surprised that drones can now circle over our heads and record videos of our activities? The response is that these acts are being created and administered to better secure our freedoms. While, actually, the opposite is true: These bills do not protect our freedoms, they take them away.

The American Civil Liberties Union, anticipating the passing of this bill, issued a report in December that requested strict regulation of drones in the U.S.

“Our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values,” the ACLU report stated. The co-author of the report, Catherine Crump, said, “The deployment of drone technology domestically could easily lead to police fishing expeditions and invasive, all-encompassing surveillance that would seriously erode the privacy that we have always had as Americans.”

via Bringing the weapons of war home: Drones in US skies – The Parthenon – Marshall University.

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