Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Despite privacy concerns, use of surveillance drones is rapidly expanding within the U.S.

Drones are operating, or are licensed to operate, from almost 800 sites in the U.S. according to aggregated statistics. Authorized operators include the United States military, as well as law enforcement agencies, and even colleges and universities. The pervasive use of drones raises powerful privacy concerns that are yet to be addressed.

Use of drones by federal and local law enforcement agencies is expanding rapidly.

Use of drones by federal and local law enforcement agencies is expanding rapidly.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Drones, surveillance, US, map, where, colleges, universities, law enforcement, military, spying, American, citizens, privacy, rights


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Americans pride themselves on their freedom and privacy, two values which move in lock step with one another. However, the U.S. may be one of the least private nations on Earth, with virtually every movement we make somehow recorded on security cameras, by our cell phone GPS systems, and yes, by our social networks.

See the map of military drones here.

See the map of non-military drones here.

At any time, law enforcement can aggregate that data and build a case that puts a suspected criminal at the scene of a crime.

Nobody has a problem with putting criminals behind bars, but what happens when previously lawful activity becomes unpopular or even illegal? What happens when illegal activity what was largely ignored, such as minor traffic infractions and jaywalking, becomes an easily enforced stream of revenue? Case and point would be red light cameras, which although they cause more accidents than they prevent, are popular for their earning potential with law enforcement.

What happens when the surveillance cameras enjoy a God's eye view of you and your home, in an age when newly-developed sensors can literally see through walls?

Modern technology is making all this possible and nobody seems too concerned because it is happening in quiet, seemingly innocuous increments. Unfortunately, drone surveillance technology is becoming mainstream and data can be recorded and saved for later review and use. Even data which is unintentionally collected.

And this is the status quo.

Drones, unlike a patrol officer on the street, can fly above homes and peek into backyards where most people enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy. This goes well beyond the occasional passage of a police or news helicopter, which are expensive operators that fly when there's a specific mission to be accomplished. These assets aren't interested in filming you while you swim in your backyard pool.

However, drones are unmanned vehicles which in some cases can fly for hours, high aloft, recording everything they see for later. They are low cost assets, enabling continual operation. They are also quiet, having been developed intentionally for surveillance, so they can operate with you none the wiser.

It seems to be too late to stop the tide of drones, which as stated previously, are already becoming mainstream. There is not a single day or hour when a drone isn't operating above American skies. It is simply now a matter of expanding their use.

In defense of the drones, if one can be made, many of the operators listed here are only authorized to operate small, low-endurance, technologically limited craft. Some are for research purposes, and some are very small and can only fly for minutes at a time.

However, all great things have small beginnings. Eventually, drones will be commonplace; unsurprising eyes in the skies, much like helicopters and general aviation aircraft are today.

For now, we are protected (hopefully) by ethical actors, our inherent freedoms, and the law, which should keep drones from snooping into our backyards, and should prevent any such data from being used against us without a warrant. However, we are but one or two court decisions, or a zealous legislature away from seeing that change.

When that happens, the U.S. will be better ranked with China and Iran in terms of privacy, rather than the free democracies of the West - assuming we're not there already.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More U.S.

REVENGE KILLING: Two New York City policemen gunned down in cold blood - revenge believed to be motive Watch

Image of Officers Liu and Ramos were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill in Bedford-Stuyvesant before 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon when they were shot point-blank in the head by lone gunman 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who later shot and killed himself.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

Without apparent rhyme or reason - NYPD Police Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were gunned down in cold blood as they sat in their patrol car this past weekend. "No warning, no provocation - they were quite simply assassinated, targeted for their ... continue reading


The Assassination of Two Police Officers in New York Reveals a City at a Crossroads Watch

Image of One of the officers, Rafael Ramos, was 40 years old, happily married and leaves behind his wife and two sons. The other officer, Wenjin Liu, was 32 years old and married only two months.

By Keith A. Fournier

The flames that fueled this lunacy were fanned by a Mayor who repeatedly and irresponsibly touted a racial narrative which attributed racial bias to the Police as he led this City through recent altercations between some police officers and some citizens. It was ... continue reading


The Pope, the Pets, the Paparazzi and the Propaganda Media

Image of Pope Francis pets a dog

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The passing on of this complete fabrication, as well as the embellishment which accompanied it, were not simply a matter of the secular press failing to comprehend this Pope. In fact, religious news sources, both Catholic and Protestant, jumped in. This all ... continue reading


A journey to the land of the free: Part One -- Beaten and scared young children flee violence and turn to the United States for hope Watch

Image of Many young immigrants have no more fight in them when they decide to cross the border, they're only trying to survive.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Blistered feet and filthy, blood-stained skin is the forlorn image of immigrants preparing to cross the border. With hopeful hearts and anxious minds, immigrants, of all ages, assemble to make the leap into their promise land. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Most ... continue reading


Pope Francis, the real architect behind the U.S.-Cuban thaw Watch

Image of With personal appeals, letters, and hosted meetings, the Vatican and Pope Francis can accurately be called the masterminds behind the recent thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The thaw in relations between the U.S. and Cuba took the world by surprise, but perhaps one man was not as shocked as the rest. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A senior official with the White House reported that Pope Francis made personal appeals to both President ... continue reading


Looking forward to your tax refund this year? Don't hold your breath. The IRS suffers after extreme budget cuts. Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Heavily stricken with budget cuts and new tax-related laws, the IRS considers implementing its own temporary shutdown. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress has recently cut the IRS budget by $346 million. The IRS' budget has been cut a total of $1 billion since ... continue reading


OBAMACARE DOES NOT WORK! Vermont gives up free healthcare plan as too expensive Watch

Image of Vermont's governor announced that a planned universal healthcare program for the state has been cancelled because the massive tax hikes would devastate the state's economy.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Peter Shumlin, the governor of Vermont, announced that he was canceling his longtime dream to create a single-payer health care system for his state. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The announcement came on December 17, citing problems with paying for the Green ... continue reading


The disgusting new fact of American life: More than 46 million Americans on food stamps for 37 straight month Watch

Image of Obama has been in office for about 70 months, and 37 of those months have seen the most amount of Americans on food stamps, ever!

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is self-evident that President Obama continues to undermine the abilities of the lower class, enforcing government-reliance on those who can least afford it. The number of Americans on food stamps under Obama has continued along its record breaking path, as, ... continue reading


Faith in the United States' race relations hits a strikingly low point after no indictment verdicts Watch

Image of 57 percent of American's say race relations in the United States are bad, according to the latest NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Those are the words of Martin Luther King, Jr, a man who fought long and hard for a better today. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A land where discrimination no longer prevails is a reality that seems no ... continue reading


Why is he so upset? Because of the secret Republican time bomb in the government funding bill Watch

Image of The federal government has funding through the 2015 fiscal year, but Republicans will have many opportunities to fight the president's programs in that time.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Senate has approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill, aimed to fund nearly the whole of the federal government through the 2015 fiscal year, ending weeks of drama in Congress and relieving doubts that the government might be shut down again while Democrats and ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Samuel 1:24-28
24 When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, ... Read More

Psalm, First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8
1 Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:46-56
46 And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Chaeromon
December 22: Bishop of Nilopolis, in Egypt. When the persecution was ... Read More

Marketplace

Image of St. Mark Keychain in Antique Gold

St. Mark
Keychain

Bible Now!
Bibles & New Testaments

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter