Drones Over American Skies: Obama is Watching You

Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) established 6 national drone test sites where the unmanned planes could fly through civilian air space.
President Obama signed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in February of this year, demanding that the FAA “integrate operation of drones” into National Airspace by 2015.

Although only 4 were planned, six came into being thanks to lobbying from certain US Senators.

Currently, the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) restricts drone flights because of the use of civilian airspace by commercial airliners.

One letter to Michael Huerta, FAA acting commissioner, and Hancock Field is now one of the national test sites.Senator Schumer wrote: “Hancock Field is ideally positioned to be a test site because of its attractive air space, and because the region has two restricted areas, four seasons, a varied terrain, an over water range, air to ground gunnery capability and large airspace volume – all essential to ensuring that our drones and their pilots are able to complete their missions abroad.”

Representatives Ed Markey and Joe Barton wrote in a letter to Huerta of their concerns about the flight patterns of drones in civilian airspace.

“The potential for invasive surveillance of daily activities with drone technology is high,” Markey said. “Standards for informing the public and ensuring safeguards must be put in place now to protect individual privacy. I look forward to the FAA’s responses and will monitor this situation as the use of drone technology in our airspace increases.”

In February of this year, Congress demanded the FAA create “rules to guide domestic drone flights”. This action paved the way for defense and aerospace lobbyists to via for profits amidst the hopes of using drones against American citizens.

After the regulations are complete, those drones will be approved for use by private operators and local law enforcement, as well as federal agencies.
Lobbyists for private firms are anxious to reap the profits to be had from the new acquisition of US military grade drones by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“General Atomics and Northrop Grumman are the dominant players in the unmanned aircraft business, and their products are better suited to civil or commercial missions than those of other companies,” says Loren Thompson of the Lexington Institute and a defense industry consultant. “Lockheed Martin makes high-end unmanned systems, but they are too secret to use in most civil applications. Textron’s smaller unmanned systems may have civilian uses.”

Over 63 locations were authorized launch sites after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) obtained the same data through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The EFF put together a map to show where those areas were.

These locations, near 20 across several states, were granted drone operation rights by the FAA. Those benefiting from this action are the US military, Border and Customs Patrol, NASA and the FBI.

The EFF also uncovered Special Airworthiness Certificates , given to defense contractors like Raytheon and General Atomics to allow them to test drones within US airspace.

The Conservative Action Alerts were spread through email to warn American citizens that Obama was launching drones into domestic skies as part of its “terrorism surveillance and intelligence operations.”

The CAA statement read in part: “So, while you are putting burgers on the grill … while your kids are playing outside … while you walk your dog, or go window-shopping, or sit outside at a café, having lunch … the eyes of the U.S. government will be upon you. Small drones will begin flying in June, but all types of UAV’s will be allowed into the skies by September 30, 2015-courtesy of our privacy-killing President, Barack Obama.”

Jennifer Lynch, EFF staff attorney, remarked that drones “could be revealing deeply personal details’ about American citizens.”

Lynch went on to state: “Drones give the government and other unmanned aircraft operators a powerful new surveillance tool to gather extensive and intrusive data on Americans’ movements and activities. As the government begins to make policy decisions about the use of these aircraft, the public needs to know more about how and why these drones are being used to surveil United States citizens. The use of drones in American airspace could dramatically increase the physical tracking of citizens – tracking that can reveal deeply personal details about our private lives. We’re asking the DOT to follow the law and respond to our FOIA request so we can learn more about who is flying the drones and why.”

Although Obama does not care, these drones violate our 4th Amendment right; where it clearly states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

Since our government is taking steps against us, perhaps now would be a good time to adopt a noncompliance attitude.

This is our Constitutional Republic. We should protect her. It only benefits us all if we do.

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