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.

Article 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 calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lordís invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More U.S.

Suffering, Struggle and the Christian Revolution Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Christian tradition instructs us that even undeserved and unmerited suffering, when joined in love to the sufferings of Jesus Christ, can produce extraordinary fruit within us - and then through us, as we change. This is a part of the teaching on the mystery ... continue reading


FORCED BESTIALITY: Evil teenage girls sexually assault autistic boy - and record it for posterity Watch

Image of Seventeen-year-old Lauren Bush along with her 15-year-old accomplice are accused by the St. Mary's County sheriff's department on numerous charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an episode shocking for its sheer cruelty, two teenage girls in Maryland are now in custody after they repeatedly abused a 16-year-old autistic boy - eventually making him perform sexual acts with a family pet - and recording it all on their cell phones. LOS ... continue reading


HOW LONG BEFORE THE SYSTEM BREAKS? Working Americans increasingly made to pay for those on welfare Watch

Image of Those who work in America are increasingly being made to pay for those who don't -- in the manner of an over-burdened ox.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If you're an American who awakes each day to begin a day of toil you have no interest in, take heed: There are only more reasons to hit your pillow in frustration each night as you drift off to sleep. You are an endangered species, and the media has not rallied ... continue reading


Ron Paul warns Feds may stage 'Waco styled' raid Watch

Image of Cliven Bundy has been fighting with the Bureau of Land Management for 20 years over his cattle and grazing rights.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While Cliven Bundy, his family, their supporters, and myriad militiamen forced federal agents from the Bureau of Land Management to back off of the Bundy's Nevada ranch and release hundreds of captured cattle, one politician warns that the feds could be planning ... continue reading


What does this say about America? More people getting food stamps than women working full-time Watch

Image of There were only 15,678,000 women who worked full-time, year-round in the United States in 1969.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a distressing figure that shines a most unflattering light on affairs here in the United States. According to recent statistics, those  participating in the food stamp program, or SNAP outnumbered the number of women who worked full-time, year-round ... continue reading


Palm/Passion Sunday: Will We Make This Week Holy By Encountering Jesus Christ? Watch

Image of Holy Week invites us to let go of self and embrace the Lord Jesus anew through saying Yes to the invitation to continuing conversion. How desperately we all need to hear the Good news that we can begin again!

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Palm/ Passion Sunday: Make This Holy Week a Deep Encounter With Jesus Christ!During this week called Holy, the Lord Jesus is extending His saving Hand to each one of us anew. The timeless one has broken into time and now transforms it from within. The question is ... continue reading


Living Among the Pharisees Watch

Image of Christ Before the High Priest

By Deal W. Hudson

I will not quote directly from the article - there is no need to infect readers with the Phariseeism pervading Ruse's psychological/spiritual analysis of Thomas Williams. The readers can judge for themselves. I've been the target of similar, and worse, ... continue reading


Time for a Movement Rooted in the Real Social Doctrine of the Church Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Christian social teaching challenges any notion of human freedom which begins and ends with the isolated, atomistic, person as the measure of its application. We are by nature and grace called to relationship. Only in communion can we become fully human and find ... continue reading


Nevada cattle rancher has won fight with feds -- for now Watch

Image of Clive Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the time being, Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy has appeared to have won his week-long battle with the federal government. His case has spurred nationwide attention, and has garnered protestors rallying for his rights.  LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Is Pope Francis Opening the Possibility of Ordaining Mature, Proven Married Men to Priesthood Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The prophetic witness of voluntary, consecrated celibacy has endured beyond the ranks of celibate clergy. It is also preserved in the inspired vowed life of monastic orders and the sacrificial witness of religious men and women. In addition, in many of the ... 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, Isaiah 61:1-3, 6, 8-9
1 The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:21-22, 25, 27
21 My hand will always be with him, my arm will make ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-21
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Reading 2, Revelation 1:5-8
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 17th, 2014 Image

St. Anicetus
April 17: Anicetus was a Syrian from Emesa. He became pope about 155 and ... Read More

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