The Buzz

The Arrival of Domestic Drones

A noteworthy editorial in the New York Times today claims that the Orwellian future of drones in America is much closer than we think:

Congress has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to quickly select six domestic sites to test the safety of drones, which can vary in size from remote-controlled planes as big as jetliners to camera-toting hoverers called Nano Hummingbirds that weigh 19 grams.

The drone go-ahead, signed in February by President Obama in the F.A.A. reauthorization law, envisions a $5 billion-plus industry of camera drones being used for all sorts of purposes from real estate advertising to crop dusting to environmental monitoring and police work.

It seems there are myriad potential privacy issues that could accompany the arrival of these domestic drones. While these drones do have the potential for good, the rate of technological advance always seems to outpace our preparedness for booming technologies. The ACLU has already voiced concern that these drones could invite "pervasive surveillance" of private citizens.