Over a hundred unmanned drones have taken to U.S. skies this year
Proliferation of domestic drones raises privacy issues
That pesky humming over your shoulder may not be a mosquito these hot
summer nights - take a closer look and it could be an unmanned
surveillance drone. According to the Federal Aviation Administration has
confirmed that 106 federal, state and local government "entities" to
fly "unmanned aircraft systems" within U.S. airspace.
'We are now on the edge of a new horizon: using unmanned aerial systems within the homeland,' House Homeland Security Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul (R.-Texas) said as he introduced the testimony.
"Currently," McCaul said, "there are about 200 active Certificates of Authorization issued by the Federal Aviation Administration to over 100 different entities, such as law enforcement departments and academic institutions, to fly drones domestically."
McCaul showed a map of the United States illustrated with markers indicating the locations where as of April of this year, government entities had been approved by the FAA to fly drones. "The number of recipients since that time has increased," McCaul noted.
The FAA's long-term goal is to permit drones to operate in U.S. airspace "to the greatest extent possible."
This doesn't sit well with many U.S. citizens, for the drones raise a high level of concerns over personal freedom and privacy.
"First is privacy as it relates to the collection and use of surveillance data," Gerald L. Dillingham, GAO's director of Physical Infrastructure Issues told the House Homeland Subcommittee on Oversight last week.
"Members of Congress, civil liberties organizations and civilians have expressed concerns that the potential increased use of UAS in the national airspace by law enforcement or for commercial purposes has potential privacy implications," said Dillingham.
"Currently, no federal agency has specific statutory responsibility to regulate privacy matters relating to UAS. Stakeholders have told us that by developing guidelines for the appropriate use of UASs ahead of widespread proliferation could in fact preclude abuses of the technology and negative public perceptions of the potential uses that are planned for these aircraft."
"The Federal Aviation Administration authorizes military and non-military (academic institutions; federal, state, and local governments including law enforcement entities; and private sector entities) UAS operations on a limited basis after conducting a case-by-case safety review," Dillingham said.
"Only federal, state, and local government agencies can apply for a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA); private sector entities must apply for special airworthiness certificates in the experimental category," Dillingham said.
"Between January 1, 2012 and July 17, 2012," said Dillingham, "FAA had issued 201 COAs to 106 federal, state and local government entities across the United States, including law enforcement entities as well as academic institutions."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: FAA, drones, privacy, agencies,
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