Friday, February 10, 2012

Drones and Satellites, Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!

Yea, that title sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish, I know. I'm not generally one to listen to that junk either, but this latest bit of news has me wanting to fire a lot of Congresscritters (again).

Drones have been authorized for use in American skies by a recent bill passed by Congress. Up to an additional 30,000 drones are expected to be authorized for use thanks to the recently passed FAA Reauthorization Act (which is expected to be signed by the President).

The drones originated as surveillance devices, which is a purpose I can completely support, however the idea of 30,000 of these things flying around our skies watching our every move has me a bit worried. Anyone ever watch that movie Enemy of the State with Will Smith? The one where they are tracking him through the streets via satellite and such. While the clarity they were getting wasn't quite possible (at the time, it may be now) with the speed at which they were adjusting the angle, it is very possible and sometimes even better (image-wise) with the various surveillance drones.

I can see the use for them in law enforcement, so long as the proper warrants are attained and such. But I have to wonder why they would need so many. Also, given the use of satellites and drones in Europe I don't have very high hopes that they will be used very effectively, or even correctly, over here. There have already been a lot of abuses under the Patriot Act, and the fairly recently passed National Defense Authorization Act (which still included the ability for the military to detain terrorist suspects) will only allow for more. And let us not forget, in 2009 Janet Napolitano and DHS put returning US Veterans on the list of possible terrorists.

"The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of
military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities
could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists
capable of carrying out violent attacks."

"Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."

Yes, if you believe in state authority over federal authority or are opposed to abortion, you were put on the list of possible homegrown terrorists.

In my opinion everybody that voted Yea on the following lists should have to explain their actions. If they either agree with the use of drones on a mass scale for surveillance in the US they need to be fired (Yes, that includes you, Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Allen West). The ease with which the government can claim someone is a terrorist suspect to put them under surveillance, if not outright arrest, is ridiculous these days. No judge is going to deny a warrant if the government even whispers the word, "terrorist."

If any of the following people is your Senator or House Rep, send them an email and ask them Whiskey Tango Hotel.

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