Categorized | Opinion

Drones & The Law

By David PeelDavid Peel

Two years from now, while you are making out your naughty and nice list, you might notice a hum overhead.
It is by then that “unmanned aerial vehicles” commonly known as “drones” will be hovering around America.
Drones can do a lot of good.  For instance, in the case of missing child in wintery rough terrain, drones can be deployed to fly hostile areas long before a large search party with horse and dogs can be cobbled together.  Also, we have all witnessed how helicopters can help locate those who run from law enforcement and hide under obstacles.  Similarly, an infrared-equipped drone can pick up a heat signature and lead police right to the suspect.  Finally, how nice it will before the real estate agent to show the 100 acres property real time, without walking it.
Of course, armed drones like the Predator often drop Hellfire missiles onto bad guys all over Afghanistan.
No one wants to think of that occurring in downtown Nashville. Also, privacy advocates and civil liberties groups warn about the loss of privacy when a drone could literally be assigned to follow you 24/7.  They can also listen to your conversations with existing technology. Safety issues abound as well.
These things, at some point, will just drop out of the sky.  Of course, so do jet planes occasionally. Amazon is already testing drones to deliver books and other small items by leaving them on your doorstep! We may soon live in a day wherein we order a taco and a drone is hovering above us in ten minutes with our meal.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates air traffic federally. But states can pass their own laws.
Nine states have passed some laws restricting drone use. Some FAA officials have speculated that there might be as many as 30,000 drones by the end of this decade. We have all seen what happened with satellites over the last fifty years.
What do you think? Should police be required to have a search warrant to surveil you? What if they are just posted over your neighborhood? The law seldom keeps up with technology I am afraid.
Peel seeks justice for those injured in car accidents, work place incidents, medical malpractice, and nursing homes. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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December 2013
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