Domestic drone use under scrutiny

August 6, 2013

droneCalifornia lawmakers are taking a close look at establishment of testing sites for domestically-deployed unmanned aircraft — drones — with the notion of reviving the state’s declining aerospace industry. (Sacramento Bee)

The use of such technology for domestic purposes is being probed today by the Assembly Public Safety Committee to hear concerns about constitutional consequences as well as commentary on how drones could be utilized for useful and lawful purposes..

Sen. Alex Padilla , D-Los Angeles, is sponsoring a bill that would specify when the use of drones would require a court-issued warrant, and what information so gathered would be public.

Federal officials have estimated that more than 30,000 of the pilot-less planes could be in the air over America by 2020.

“We’re not darkening the sky yet, but we’re poised,” Richard Christiansen, vice president of aerospace engineering firm Sierra Lobo Inc., told reporters in May.

Proponents claim that more than $82 billion will be spent on the technology during the next five years, and they want in on the largesse. Proponents also perceive drone uses for assessing and selling real estate, assisting news organizations in gathering information, and patrolling oil pipelines and other sensitive facilities.


I really do wonder what people think a drone is going to see in their back yard, and who they think really cares. Really people, nobody cares what’s in your back yard or what you are doing there.

If someone really wanted to see into back yards, an aircraft at FAA legal altitude can take exception quality photos that would knock you socks off. I fly and photograph from both aircraft and drones. My subjects, for the most part, don’t even know I’m there, but, in all cases, the subjects have requested the photos of their property.

As with any photo, one captures the surrounding area to a limited extent. That surrounding area is of absolutely no interest to anybody. Those who think it is are flattering themselves. It’s stuff for the byte bucket.

Do these same people that wish to ban or shoot down drones also wish to ban or shoot down the low flying observation CHP Cessna and the Sheriff’s department helicopter? Most probably not. Then why all the fuss?

BTW – Most of the proposed drones are destined for fire suppression, forestry and wildlife management, agriculture, search and rescue at substantially reduced cost of operation and risk of human life loss.

If you really want to stop the invasion of your privacy, turn off your computer right now, use a land line for your calls, get rid of the ATM card and credit cards and go find a bunker somewhere to sit life out.


“Big Brother Is Watching You” and pulling the strings…


So the government starves us for jobs and economic growth and then they offer us jobs to manufacture equipment that rips our bill of rights to shreds….not good.


I am not sure that I want the government controlling drone activities. If recent trends are any indications, such regulations will only apply to those without political power. As it stands now, I could (in theory) have my own counter-surveillance drone — perhaps equipped with a paint-ball gun to deal with the cameras on the snoop drones.

Jorge Estrada

A dog chases his tail for fun, with enough tax dollars people are employed and justifiably do the same.


Un perro también persigue su cola por miedo


Wow! This better than Google Earth! Let’s pass a law that drone feeds have to be live on the internet so we can all watch realtime. 30,000 more channels. Hope Padilla thought of that.

“Federal officials have estimated that more than 30,000 of the pilot-less planes could be in the air over America by 2020” 2020; perfect vision? There must be an Aesop’s Fable about somebody who gives you something (the Feds) to your detriment. Oh, wait, I can make money making & selling drones….never mind.


Love it.

If you’re out in public, you have no right of privacy. That’s why it’s called public.

Furthermore, if your not doing anything illegal you have nothing to worry about.


….and if I am skinny dipping in my well secluded back yard while my neighbor is being watched, does the jury get to see my junk?


I love my country but fear my government. Our government from the city to the federal level need to ask themselves every day one question. Is what we are doing within the boundaries of the Constitution?


but, but, but, it’s good business for somebody. sell your soul; it feels good.


Unfortunately, they ask their in-house lawyers with implied instructions to rationalize a legal way to do whatever they want to do. They don’t give a damn about the intent of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights and only care about the actual phrasing in that they want to find ways around the intent.


Contributions are now being accepted to support a SLO DRONE to follow the Board of Supervisors around to make sure they are where they are supposed to be.


“Federal officials have estimated that more than 30,000 of the pilot-less planes could be in the air over America by 2020.”

Wonderful. Oh, yeah- just absolutely wonderful- 30,000 spy drones circling overhead observing our every move. Oh, and let’s not forget the already-existing monitoring of our e-mails and telephone calls, and heaven-only-knows whatever other existing invasive eavesdropping that we’re not yet aware of or will be implemented in the future.

If nothing else, shouldn’t someone (the FAA, perhaps?) at least be questioning the merit and advisability of 30,000 pilot-less instruments cluttering up our nation’s commercial travel airspace?

Whatever. Nothing surprises me anymore. Nothing.


this will give the FAA more to regulate, increasing their budget; more desks