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- States Acting to Ban Spy Drones at Home: Rutherford Writes Sample
The FAA’s Reauthorization Act of 2012 paved the runway for 30,000 drones to enter U.S. airspace by 2020. Law enforcement is already making use of the high tech sleepless spies to invade our private lives. Some are capable of peering into bedroom windows. Some are able to photograph facial expressions from hundreds of feet in the air. Some are able to see through walls and map our daily activities. Spy drones in the hands of curious cops pose a serious threat to citizens’ security and privacy. The Rutherford Institute writes sample legislation which states and cities are using to ban warrantless spy drones at home.
The FAA issued 313 certificates to police or other government agencies in 2011 and 295 were still active at the end of that year. In 2012 the Department of Transportation which oversees the FAA streamlined the permitting process and by 2015 the FAA is required to establish six flight ranges in the country where the spies in the sky can be tested to see whether they can safely operate in commercial airspace. Deadlines have been set which will allow up to 30,000 insomniac eyes to fly our crowded skies by 2020.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing DHS and the FAA under the Freedom of Information Act to get the names of the agencies which have been granted the certificates to fly. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deployed Predator drones on many occasions to support local law enforcement operations and is currently distributing grants to help local agencies who want to purchase their own smaller drones. When questioned about federal intrusion into local law enforcement actions, the government has refused to answer or comment forcing the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) to pursue litigation to force disclosures.
Senator Rand Paul (KY-R) was the first senator to introduce legislation to protect Americans against unwarranted drone surveillance. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 (S.3287) was introduced in June of last year, but it died in the Judiciary Committee. The law read that with the exceptions of border patrol use, “imminent danger,” and “high risk” terrorist circumstances the government of the United States,
“shall not use a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant that satisfies the requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”
S.3287 would have provided relief through civil action for government violations of the law and would have prevented the admission in court of any evidence obtained through violations of the act.
The companion House version of the bill (H.R.5925) also died in the House Judiciary Committee despite claiming 24 co-sponsors. Its language was virtually the same as Senator Paul’s bill.
Individual states and cities have been forced to move into action on the issue. Florida, California, Massachusetts, and Missouri congressmen have introduced bills to ban spy drones in their states without warrants. On January 15th Senator Joe Negron (FL-R) sponsored SB 92 which would ban police use of spy drones against citizens in the state of Florida. It would also ban the government use of drones for code enforcement. The bill makes exceptions for search warrants issued by judges and for terrorist-related searches. In December of last year Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat in California, introduced a similar bill in his state. Rep. Ed Markey (D) did the same in Massachusetts as did Rep. Casey Guernsey (R) in Missouri.
Charlottesville, Virginia will be voting in February on a resolution drafted by John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute who has written extensively on the threat of drones attacking our constitutional rights. Whitehead has called drones “the cornerstone of the (Obama) administration,” citing the fact that “fifty-six federal agencies already have (domestic drone) licenses.”
The ACLU has said that drones should be deployed by local law enforcement only after a warrant has been issued, in an emergency or “when there are specific articulable grounds to believe that the drone will collect evidence relating to a specific criminal act.”
Whitehead claims that drones already go beyond the ACLU’s stated limits. If unchecked, he says, “There will be no place to run.” Drones are being equipped with automatic weapons, grenade launchers, tear gas launchers and tasers. Big Brother showcased his new drone muscle during May’s NATO conference in Chicago and the Bilderberg meeting in Chantilly, Virginia.
The backlash against drone spying on U.S. citizens is growing. At least 10 state legislatures will be considering bills that would limit camera-equipped, sleepless spies in U.S. skies except for border protection and in cases backed by warrants or terrorist investigations.
With more than 348 drones approved by the FAA as of the first week in January, half were from the Defense Department, 7% were for law enforcement and 24% were from academic institutions. Big Brother and his local law enforcement affiliates are preparing their attacks on citizens’ rights.
Our founders had no way of knowing our liberties would one day be attacked by our government’s insomniac spies in the sky. They had no way of knowing that tyranny through drones would one day threaten freedom’s death.
We need more patriots like John W. Whitehead to protect our personal privacy and security. His sample drone legislation can be found at Rutherford.org along with fact sheets and references pertinent to the “Ban Spy Drones” battle.
Encourage your state and local legislators to pass legislation to protect you and yours from the coming spy drone invasion.
“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”
typing, texting or calling before Big Brother’s drones drop in on you,
. . . and I mean that literally!
Stay tuned to Sleeplessandtired.com for continuous tracking of Big Brother’s attacks.