Blasts illegal use of “plastic drones” to spy on Americans in their backyards
Judge Andrew Napolitano has warned Congress not to act “like potted plants” regarding the increased use of unmanned surveillance drones without warrants over US skies by military, government, and law enforcement agencies.
Echoing the recent comments of his Fox News colleague Charles Krauthammer, Napolitano also said that “The first American patriot that shoots down one of these drones that comes too close to his children in his backyard will be an American hero.”
The federal government is rolling out new rules on the use of the unmanned drones this week, with the Federal Aviation Administration announcing procedures will “streamline” the process through which government agencies, including local law enforcement, receive licenses to operate the aircraft.
Privacy advocates have warned that the FAA has not acted to establish any privacy safeguards whatsoever, and that congress is not holding the agency to account.
A recently uncovered Air Force document also circumvents laws and clears the way for the Pentagon to use drones to monitor the activities of Americans.
The Air Force instruction, dated April 23, admits that the Air Force cannot legally conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” on Americans, but also states that should the drones”incidentally” capture data while conducting other missions, military intelligence has the right to study it to determine whether the subjects are legitimate targets of domestic surveillance.
“The same Congress that let the president bomb Libya is going to let his Air Force spy in our backyards and like potted plants, they’ll look the other way,” Judge Napolitano urged yesterday.
“The Third Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment were written to guarantee us the right to be left alone … Suddenly the government, silently, from 30,000 feet above is violating those amendments,” he added.[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fNP51hZtVI[/youtube] [youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg1TAAqrqMo[/youtube] As we reported in February, over 30 prominent watchdog groups have banded together to petition the FAA on the proposed increase in the use of drones in US airspace.
The groups, including The American Civil Liberties Union, The Electronic Privacy Information Center, and The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, submitted a petition demanding that the FAA hold a rulemaking session to consider the privacy and safety threats.
Congress recently passed legislation paving the way for what the FAA predicts will be somewhere in the region of 30,000 drones in operation in US skies by 2020.
The ACLU noted that the FAA’s legislation “would push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance without any steps to protect the traditional privacy that Americans have always enjoyed and expected.”
In addition to privacy concerns, the groups warned that the ability to link facial recognition technology to surveillance drones and patch the information through to active government databases would “increase the First Amendment risks for would be political dissidents.”