Drone Wars. Here In Our Own Backyard. Scared? Maybe You Should Be.


March 11, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

air drones

Just like the one your kid plays with, only I can blow-up lots of stuff and spy on you.

*Today, (1/26/2015) an unidentified drone apparently landed on the White House premises. This set-off concerns about hacking drones and using our own drones against us for terrorism. Below is what I wrote back in march 2014 about drone wars and this previously unthinkable scenario:

It’s a warm summer’s evening in July. You’ve tossed some seasoned steaks on the grill, the drinks are chilled, the kids are (thankfully) playing nice for a change and now it’s time for you to chill as well. Maybe, you’ll try out that Martha Stewart Hammock you purchased online from Amazon. Yes, life is good and all is as it should be.

But wait. You hear a low, buzzing sound interrupting your summer serenity. Is it that no good neighbor kid with one of his remote controlled choppers? Nope. Look, higher up in the air, is it a bird? No. A plane? Not quite. A giant mosquito. No. But you are getting closer.

You spot what is in reality an Unmanned Air Drone (UAD). Before you can grab your Canon One-Step digital camera and memorialize this moment for when you’ll all look back and laugh, the UAD starts to flash red. An instant later there is a bright light, a loud popping sound like a hundred champagne bottles being uncorked at once (no, not your stash, you had PBR six-packs on ice) and before you know it, your steaks are burnt to a crisp. As well as your $1,000 Gas Grill, your sun-deck, all your lawn furniture and the all pine-wood Doggie house you made for Bruno, the family bull-dog.


I tried to warn them but no one listens to me. Maybe if I was a cutesy Chihuahua.

While still in shock (hey, those were expensive T-Bone steaks, after all) the UAD stealthily swoops in for up-close scanning, thermal and bio-outputs surveillance. Apparently, satisfied with the Intel it has acquired and the message imparted by its warning shots unloaded in your backyard it then ascends back into the clouds. Faster than you can say “1984” the Drone has vanished. Maybe this was all some bad dream, right?

George Orwell

I tried to warn you all too. Maybe if I was a bull-dog.

But the steaks aren’t even fit for Bruno and your backyard has small craters still emanating vapors of smoke.

What in the name of the Terminator just happened?

Outrageous, right? Outlandish. Are you certain?

Don’t be. Unmanned Militarized Aircraft Systems or Drones are no longer just some futuristic vision imagined by author George Orwell in his conspiracy classic “1984,” first published in 1949. In his vision, unmanned air drones hover over a broken population conducting surveillance, monitoring and tracking every word and thought from its people. Perpetually probing for any seeds of discontent and dissidence.

Today, circa 2014, his fears of a society gone mad with paranoia, control and high-technology to do its bidding may soon not just be thrilling science fiction.

The fact is UADs have become a fully integrated part of our military defense and surveillance system. Drones have identified, targeted and destroyed assets, both material and human abroad. Praised by supporters as more efficient and lower risk than deploying real, live humans, UADs are here to stay.

And, if their advocates have their way, they’ll multiply faster than mosquitoes on a hot summer’s day.

And here’s the potentially even more frightening part of this particular non-fictional story. Drones are becoming increasingly more integrated for domestic use. Right here in the USA. Coming to a backyard near you soon.

drone test

This sure beats playing with Kites, eh, boys?

Actually, Drones are already being used by the FBI for domestic surveillance. The Director of the FBI, Mr. Robert Mueller, recently testified before Congress that Yes, they are being used, Yes, there are plans to increase their use across the US and No, there are no regulations or privacy policies in place at this moment.

Military strategists love Unmanned Armed Drones (UAD). And why not? There’s no putting real, live humans in harm’s way. They are difficult to detect, even with radar. They are increasingly accurate in identifying and targeting assets with lethal force. And if surveillance is your goal, UADs can fly, hover, and send back Intel photos that would make the “Mars Rover” blush a crimson red.

And support for expanding the use of Drones, both abroad and back home is growing. Stealthy, sleek little UADs. Worth every penny says the Department of Defense (DOD). In this era of budget cuts and huge deficits, we should be allocating more money into increasing our “fleet” of autonomous, armed drones with on-board artificial intelligence, says the Secretary of Defense.

In other words, building and deploying more automated drones that can acquire real-time information, synthesize and process this information and make a range of nano-second decisions to ensure “it” locks-on and destroys its target with precision and lethal force.

drones and guys

Oops. I think we just blew up the barn.

Of course, if the target is mistakenly your gas-grill, the dog house or maybe one of your kids, well, don’t blame the drone, its only as good as its programmer. You know, without all of that pesky moral ambiguity to weigh it down.

Good little drone, good boy, come here and get your treat of discarded micro-chips.

I know, I know, I’m playing the part of Chicken-Little and wrongly telling everyone that the sky is falling with drones when it’s simply not true.

These Drones will only be used against the enemy you say. There won’t be tragic mistakes. And any slight deviation from its target will be acceptable “collateral damage.” A small price to pay in a dangerous world where America’s enemies are seemingly everywhere, you tell me. Even in our backyard. Oh, that issue again.

Recently, at a national conference of state legislatures, the issue of using unmanned air drones by state and local governmental officials to do a wide range of tasks in our, well, state and local areas, came up. Seems that the business of using drones is potentially a multi-billion dollar industry. Of course it is. And a number of national and even international conglomerates are lobbying hard to ensure that legislation opens up the doors fully for a domestic privatized fleet of unmanned air drones to “man” the skies.

drone with farmer

Once the Governor says yes, this baby is armed and airborne.

And what will these drones do?

Maybe the better question is, what will they not do?

Everything from surveillance of terrorist and other domestic criminal suspects, disabling these suspects (non-lethal, of course), helping law enforcement officials cover terrain and find lost children, track and monitor traffic, identify suspicious patterns of thermal heat, “scout” farmland and crops, even aid in predicting destructive weather patterns.

Why, if Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos has its way, Drones will even be delivering that hammock your bought online right to your doorstep. Well, maybe to your neighbor’s doorstep. But hey, the mail-carrier messes up now and again too, right?

So, while The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) crafts rules to fully and legally integrate drones into our domestic airspace by 2015, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation scrambles to “catch-up” with this awe-inspiring technology and its use, and state legislatures hear well-financed private interests push for more drones and not so well-financed privacy advocates ring the “1984” alarm bell, the drone-makers keep cranking out more UADs every day.

But what about our privacy as US citizens, you say? It’s one thing if these dang drones are hovering somewhere in Kabul and target an evil-doer but here, in the good old US of A?

Well, like the Great Oz, the US Supreme Court has spoken. The majority of black-robed deep-thinkers recently ruled that when it comes to Domestic Air Drones (DAD, reassuring, yes?) there is no clear violation of our 4th Amendment privacy rights. You know, searches and seizures without a warrant.

US judges

Is that a drone? Geez, they are everywhere.

So, let the Drone Games begin.

Oh, yes, in case you are wondering, concerns have been raised by opponents that there could conceivably be an instance where a domestic armed drone’s AI was hacked so that its actions were being controlled by say a hostile in, oh, I don’t know, Kabul.

Think about it. An armed, hostile drone, zipping round US domestic airspace acquiring and destroying American targets.

What fun. Just like a big, global video-game, but real.

But I tend to worry about worst case scenarios. So, you should probably just  relax. Federal and state officials say that such an instance is not very likely. They say that soon policies will be in place and this drone technology will not turn against us. And that safeguards will be in place so that drones will not be “hijacked” by terrorists, domestic or foreign.

Whew. Okay. Well, if they say so. Now, where’s my hammock? That overpriced Amazon drone should have been here by now.

You just can’t get good help these days. Human or automated.











50 thoughts on “Drone Wars. Here In Our Own Backyard. Scared? Maybe You Should Be.

  1. Jamie K says:

    I have a feeling that if we were to go to war with Russia (or anyone), the rules that are trying to be put into place for the drones will quickly be forgotten. More than likely, the American public will want us to use all the drones we have made so far, to go spy on Russia. See how many men/ they have fighting. See what weapons they’ll use. Where their nucs are, etc. These could be very helpful in times of war. I just don’t see the need for them to be in civilian life.

    • Shantel W says:

      I totally agree with you. Everybody always opposes the idea of something so invading until we are all at risk, then we want the government to take charge. For right now though, I definitely don’t believe it’s necessary to have in our everyday life.

      • ken h says:

        I agree that people oppose of things but mainly because it does seem as if the drones would impose a nu-sense with spying on us rather than the enemy. The other problem, as we discussed in class is the fact that they are computer generated and can be hacked and that would impose a threat on not just the us but the United States. Our nation has to do something about this but it will not come overnight but, in times of crisis and war they will be more helpful than just dropping off our mail.

  2. Daniel C says:

    Assuming for argument’s sake that drones are only used on our “enemies”, is it a moral act? Consider the following excerpt from the New Yorker Magazine author Jane Mayer discusses one particularly disturbing aspect of this new era of predator drones:

    “People who have seen an air strike live on a monitor described it as both awe-inspiring and horrifying. ‘You could see these little figures scurrying, and the explosion going off, and when the smoke cleared there was just rubble and charred stuff,’ a former C.I.A. officer who was based in Afghanistan after September 11th says of one attack. (He watched the carnage on a small monitor in the field.) Human beings running for cover are such a common sight that they have inspired a slang term: ‘squirters.’ ”

    The United States of America is widely recognized as one of today’s most responsible actors in respect to human rights and upholding our many compacts regarding the ethical treatment of combatants. Even in a post-9/11 world, we remain a leading Nation in respect to equality under the law. Yet United States’ civilians and military officers callously created the term “squirters” to describe people dying who will never see the face of their attackers. Are there indications this pattern of using technology to kill without personal involvement will wane? Current trends in combat technology and production indicate quite the opposite is occurring.

    • Christopher B says:

      Unfortunately we are not the only country building drones. Ghods Aviation in Iran manufactures the Ababil. This was the drone Hezbollah used on a unsuccessful attack of Israel in 2006. This incident doesn’t sound like much of a treat because of antiquated technology used to build theses drones. However it is a reminder that other countries are working toward the advanced capabilities the United States possess. Last September Lockheed Martin lost the sentinel drone in Iranian airspace. This drone was not returned. In February, North Korea purchased Streaker drones from the Middle East. But unlike the Ababil, these Streaker drones were actually made in the United States. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t trust the U.S. government and I dang sure don’t trust some the other governments out there.

    • julianwjr says:

      Dr. Rabidoux,

      A “military expert” on CNN? Seriously? I’m guessing he was not one of the many competent flag officers terminated early by Obama for speaking the truth.

  3. stszep says:

    The use of drones seems to continue the trend of “killing without personal involvement.” Not much different than during the first Gulf War when antitank rounds were used to vaporize Iraqi soliders.

    • Steve M says:

      Well, I did not have much of a care for the Elite Iraqi forces, not the ones that gave up in groves, because as I was flying my combat missions I would be fired upon. And unlike an F-16, I was pretty close to the ground in my Cobra gun-ship. So though some will say no personal involvement, mine and my gunners butt was on the line every time we went on a mission. We were just lucky enough to not be on the ground.

      • stszep says:

        Agreed, if enemy soliders are actively in the fight, no problem using for example a 20MM cannon. What I was referring to above was antitank rounds used against surrendering Iraqi soliders. Take no prisoners??

      • julianwjr says:

        Exactly, Marine. Thank you for your service.

        Semper Fi!

        Doc Moreno

    • julianwjr says:

      I happen to remember the incident you refer to. It was related in a first hand account of the role of M-1Abrams and Bradleys in Desert Storm during the end run in the opening hours of the war. In that case, an M-1Abrams had a HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank, as opposed to the SABT round which is what is actually used against tanks now))round loaded as they were assaulting some bunkers. When an Iraqi appeared suddenly directly in front of the tank with an RPG on his shoulder, it was just quicker to take him out with the main gun – which he had conveniently placed himself directly in front of and was apparently intent on firing his grenade right up the tube – than to swing the coax .50 cal BMG onto him. I remember the writer describing the result as like falling leaves. Again, would you rather have had the tank commander open the hatch and challenge him to hand -to-hand combat? The object of combat is to literally kill the enemy at the retail level and to kill his will to fight a the wholesale level by employing terrifying, overwhelming, technologically superior, force. War is not politically correct. Winning hearts and minds comes AFTER annihilating combatants.

  4. wjwood says:

    Well the beginning of the post started out like Kenny Rogers “The Gambler”, but then it turned into the Who’s “We won’t be fooled again” or will we. Drones are going to become a new contentious and legal item that certainly are going to make it to the Supreme Court forcing some type of decision. Departing from the Bush Doctrine foreign policy, the Obama Doctrine is all for killing American ex-pats with drones. However there is always possibility that the drone hits the wrong target or kills innocent people.
    Governors already see the drones as a way to keep more control but that could even backfire if it accidently caught them doing the wrong thing.
    I think drones are good for the military but I am not sure if we are ready to use for civilians and definitely not Amazon.

    • stszep says:

      Looks as if the drones will operate outside the reach of US agencies.

      From a Bloomberg article at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-06/drone-pilot-s-fine-dropped-by-judge-finding-against-faa.html

      In summary, “A judge overturned a U.S. regulator’s first fine against a drone operator, a ruling that may lead to more commercial unmanned-aircraft flights in the U.S. before rules are written to govern their use.”

      “Even before the ruling, the FAA was struggling to police the commercial use of drones that anyone can purchase online or at hobby shops.
      Congress in 2012 ordered the FAA to craft rules to safely integrate drones into U.S. skies by 2015. The agency doesn’t expect to allow all drone operations by then and will instead phase them into the system over a longer period, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told a Senate hearing Jan. 15.”

  5. cbcampbell says:

    Innocent until proven guilty…or until they happen to get proof you are guilty when they didn’t even know you had done something wrong… In court would you get to face your accuser? And would that be the drone or its programmer? Could we, the court of law, or a jury of our peers understand the programmer’s justification of why I look guilty?

    Laws struggle to keep pace with technology and everyone from the DOD to law enforcement to local city governments are looking to cut corners and save money and time, often at the expense of our liberty. Towns in New York have used google earth to identify homeowners will unpermitted pools.

    Drones seem to be a dangerous (whether armed or not) invasion of privacy leading to questions of illegal searches. Much like other new technology data gathering, information will be collected on the innocent, and let’s face it a higher proportion of data being collected is on the innocent rather than the guilty (higher percentage of innocent vs criminals-I hope). Those who make the argument “if you don’t do anything wrong you have nothing to worry about” scare me. Would the founding fathers have been so bold if they knew they were being watched? Why don’t we ask the Chinese?

    • Sydny B says:

      I guess I am one of those who scare you! Lol
      I just feel as though I can give up some of my privacy, for the benefit and security of the whole. Not only because I know I am not doing anything wrong, but isn’t there also the hope that it will keep others accountable and perhaps sway them from acting feloniously?

      • Not sure I follow how you willingly giving up your privacy will hold others accountable and deter yet others from committing felonies-If it’s sarcasm then it’s borne out of sincere concern, the mother of all sarcasm 🙂

  6. Sydny B says:

    While I appreciate the rhetoric and sarcasm of this blog, I must admit that despite all considered I am in favor of using drones. I believe pros and cons can be listed for any technique or device in existence and there will never be a unanimous agreement. I am attracted to the idea of drones mainly because they keep soldiers out of immediate harm. (Who could be opposed to this?) I also like them because they allow us to gather intel! Drones are already being used to assist in delivering Fed Ex and UPS packages FYI. I read an article recently where this method is being tested out; it’s only a matter of time.
    The author does make a concerning point regarding drones being hacked into. I must confess, if anything makes me uneasy about drones this is it. I believe this would lead to great devastation and damage- but does it make me sound ignorant and/or stubborn when I say I am willing to take the risk? For me, it boils down to the impressive innovation displayed by drones and what we have to gain- I feel the benefits out weigh the risks. I fully understand all do not feel this way and respect that position.

  7. Brian U says:

    The use of drones will have a huge impact on our country and will prove to be a constant battle in court over their use and limitations. Big brother will be everywhere, but isn’t he already? The use of fixed and mobile cameras operated by the government already exist and business owners have cameras everywhere to protect their assets. The smart phone age has exponentially increased the amount of cameras around us every moment of our lives. Just pull up YouTube and everything is there!!!

    The use of unmanned drones is a huge leap in technology and will change delivery logistics if Amazon is able to deploy their delivery fleet. Unfortunately, technology will also run a faster race than regulations will. I personally don’t like the idea of using drones to “spy” on the average Joe, but can see the value in using drones to collect important information, survey, provide a birds eye view for legitimate/lawful purposes, and yes, even use it as a delivery mechanism.

    Where the waters start to turn muddy is in the application of our 4th Amendment rights against unlawful searches. As we stand today, the term “plain view” is used widely when enforcing laws and regulations regarding our 4th Amendment rights. Essentially, plain view states if a person (law enforcement officer) is legally permitted to be somewhere and can see something unlawful, he/she is able to enforce the law. I think the 4th Amendment will stand a true test in how SCOTUS will apply it against the use of drones with cameras. In essence, the drones are flying in airspace regulated by the FAA but does not address the advances in technology allowing us to now capture images and audio. The airspace serves as “plain view” since the drones are legally permitted to be there and what may only be kept or revered as private may be the things that take place behind closed doors (provided the windows aren’t open…).

    As the use of drones become more commonplace, it will be interesting to see what regulations evolve as a result and who will enforce them.

  8. Amanda S. says:

    There are a number of problematic elements with the use of UADs, not least of which relate to constitutional rights. The 4th Amendment is certainly the most relevant in this case; while drones in public spaces would, technically, not infringe upon 4th Amendment rights, observation in one’s own home (through a window, using infrared cameras, etc.) could potential cause a firestorm of issues from all sides. Some will say it’s a small price to pay for security, while others will insist it is a blatant disregard for individual rights.

    Programming isn’t perfect (though in many ways it is more efficient than human error), and mistakes happen. The more complex the equipment, the more likely there will be problems with it. In war use, there’s no guarantee that civilians would be safe from drone fire.

    The use of drones is certainly a reality, and it is one that can go a number of ways. Used responsibly, they can be a great help to law enforcement and military operations. The question then becomes, what is the cut off of “responsibly?” When does it become a danger to civilians and to civil liberties? While I don’t see anything like what is mentioned in the post happening, it is possible that we could see something far worse. Say, for example, you are taking part in a peaceful protest. We hear of police brutality often in regards to protests, but in most cases a police officers knows the difference between someone acting in a threatening manner and simply being angry or excited. A drone, however, programmed to respond to threatening behavior, may not be able to distinguish between a genuine threat to public safety and someone who isn’t. Innocent people, well within their right to protest, may become victims of drone fire. So there is also a potential risk to 1st Amendment rights associated with the use of drones in a domestic setting.

    If programmed responsibly, the issues associated with drone usage would certainly lessen, but they will never completely go away. There will always be mistakes, accidents, programming loopholes. Drones are not the robots of Isaac Asimov, with their Three Laws of Robotics. Drones are created for warfare and crowd control and surveillance.

    Who knows, those of us with concerns may be completely off base, but I would rather be wary and proved wrong than blindly trust that UADs and other drone types are in my best interest and one day end up on the wrong side of one.

  9. Steve M says:

    Drones are now a fact of life in this day and era. What needs to be done is oversight of such drones if we are going to continue to use them outside of warfare. The idea of a drone being hijacked is always going to be a possibility, just as are manned airplanes. Just that the terrorists will be able to do it from a comfortable safe place. I believe that the software and the back-doors that these software programs leave need to be seriously addressed, also who has access to these wonders and their uses need to be carefully looked at before being allowed to be used outside of the military use they were originally developed for. If Amazon, etc. do not like it, well that is too bad for them.

  10. Justin says:

    I am a huge supporter of the drone-based security world we have been developing over the past 5-10 years. While I enjoy the sarcasm and “worst possible outcome” thinking of this article, it’s really just overdone. These tools are put in place to keep us safe, and save lives by using the Remotely Piloted Drones/Aircraft, and honestly it’s where I hope to work in the military one day. The drones that the CIA/FBI and maybe even Homeland Security use, are simply Recon drones to find suspects, illegals, amber alerts, etc. They aren’t hooked up with 50 cal. machine guns ready to invade your pool party… Now that being said, from the military side, our Predator Drones and Reaper Drones are able to use both aspects: Recon, and Kill Orders. It’s just the way of life now a days. Would you rather see your friends and family in the military fly into hostile air space? Or a drone fly in, handle the job and leave, and if it’s shot down at least no American lives were lost. However, most Reaper/Predator setups average-in around $123 million… No cheap toys here!

  11. Karissa S says:

    As a military brat whose father’s main job is combat search and rescue (which involves going behind enemy lines) I can understand and see why these drones would be considered an asset to the US military. However, drones in my back yard I have a serious problem with. There is no reason for that. With the way our country is going, I can see ‘1984’ taking place.

  12. sherrea w says:

    I feel the use of drones in the wrong hand is just one sweet attack on whoever the victim or victims turns out to be . I feel this is where our national security should enforce regulations to modify our software to prevent this from happening to innocent citizens of america or any other country. I feel that drones should only be used in a time of warfare , where it is needed. Not just for day to day purposes.

  13. Burton F says:

    I am not that concerned about the misuse of drones by our government, yet. However, I feel the private sector would misuse drones as quickly as they become practical. Think about businesses GPS our cell phones in stores and malls to identify the area we shop in, but the store belongs to the business. I compare it to the electronic information businesses collect on everyone daily. They then package us up in a dossier and sell us for pennies on the thousands to marketers across the world. I’ve tried to come up with ways that drones by businesses could be misused or gather information. I think the best one would be a package delivery drone that takes pictures of the style and age of your home that a building supply chain maybe interested in. The drone could identify the type and age of the cars you own. Do the cars need tires, etc.? The auto insurance or auto finance company may be interested in the bent fender you recently received that lowers the value of the car you financed and insured. These thoughts are just something to think about. And by the way don’t forget about the government either. With all the skepticism I just mentioned I would love to have the ability to do my job using drones. I am employee of the tax assessor. With appraise real and personal property for property tax purposes. Each property owners property tax bill is generated by the assessors appraised value of the property times the millage rate set by the elected official of the jurisdiction. Appraisers are to visit each property within the jurisdiction every three years in my state other states may be different. I would love a drone to measure a house, acquire the square footage, additions such as screen porches, and view property for swimming pools or other improvements. The assessor drones could work faster and cheaper in my opinion.

  14. Wade M says:

    It is interesting in relation to the speed of technology and I am glad that we have the intelligence in this country to produce drones. However, I feel that there should be limits on the way in which they are used when the invasion of privacy is an issue. While we have also produced many versions of deadly weapons, I feel that their only proper place is with the police and the military used against criminals and the enemy.

  15. Taranesha says:

    It is pretty sad that we have to get to this point. I know that everyone isn’t in love with America and what she stands for, but I get the feeling that there are more people who are out to help than harm the country. There are so many ways that the government and even hackers can get our information these days and this is just one more. This is not to say that I’m against drones or their purpose. I know that there are negatives and positives to everything. However, if we allow these things into our culture, there should be regulations that can at least keep Americans’ peace of mind. We shouldn’t have to worry about going into our own backyards and being annihilated by an unknown object. If these things can’t prove to clearly improve our security in this country, then there’s no need for them.Simple.

  16. Kenneth Sirmans says:

    In today’s world I think we all know that we are under some type of surveillance at all times,from gps locators in our phones,tablets,laptops,etc…to things like google earth etc. So to be upset at drone surveillance is kinda of hypcritical

    • Still, it’s one thing to locate me via Google or get directions via GPS and another for those devices to then be armed and blow me up. Not sure I see why being concerned about armed drones that can get hacked is being hypocritical.

  17. John K says:

    While I am a supporter of using UAD’s in war torn areas like the middle east, we shouldn’t use them in America. Even though these drones cost a fortune, it’s worth saving even one U.S soldier’s life. It was announce that this past march that there were no combat deaths of any U.S soldiers since 2003, and with these drones, it can stay that way. Wouldn’t you want a drone to go behind enemy lines or a potential family member or friend? On the other hand, having these drones in America is a different story. While we can use them to find missing children, fleeing criminals etc,having drones just causally flying by is pushing it. Maybe if America was like the America in the film The Purge, then it’s understandable, but while America is not the most perfect place in the world, most of us aren’t fearing for our lives 24/7. We should only use them for emergencies, and not rely on them for so called “protection”, but it seems more like fear and oppression. If we were to heavily rely on UAD’s, it might end of like the movie The Terminator Salvation , and we all should know how that turned out.

  18. John B says:

    This is a very interesting situation. I don’t think anyone would argue against using the drones overseas with the military, but it becomes an almost volatile situation when it comes to using drones on US soil. Personally, I don’t care if drones are being used for surveillance or in other areas where humans would have difficulty doing their jobs. If law enforcement agencies want to use drones, then that’s ok as long as they have the warrants or other legal causality. However, I have a problem with drones on US soil if they become armed (Lethal or Nonlethal). I believe that will cause more harm than good, and it will open up the proverbial can of worms. Until that happens, drones are ok in my book, but I can definitely see where arguments against drone usage on domestic soil is valid and should not be dismissed.

  19. Anjelica J says:

    As long as their is no harm done to US citizens and if the drones prove to be helpful to all what was listed above then I find no severe issue in our country using these drones. Regulations do need to be set for these electronical thingy-majigers so that people do not feel as if their personal space is being invaded upon. Before they are set out to be used officially more tests need to be performed just in case anyone happens to hack into these drones. So if more tests are done and more regulations are set I think these will be a great aid to society.

  20. Jon Musselwhite says:

    If they don’t cause any harm to the citizens and gives usefully informations to the police in raids, kidnapping, and drugs wars. There does need to be regulations on who can use them and why they can use one. Using them in a time of war what they were designed for.

  21. Alison M. says:

    We live in a technology driven society so this article really doesn’t surprise me. Think drones are great defense technique that rather use robots then human lives on the war zone any day. What surprises me is the fact that Congress has no privacy policies put in place at the moment. When Congress does finally step up to the plate it may be too late, we could have a drones swarming and like birds over our neighborhoods and houses. This article really makes me think about how far technology can go specially when it comes to military defense. Will the Army one day be completely filled with drones and androids?

  22. Casey H says:

    Overall, I think that drones are a good idea. Of course with everything though I believe they will be used for more than just “our enemies.” Our enemies, just the how the NSA has probably all of our data and claim it’s for terrorists despite not having helped catch any. I’m for using them in war, but I think their purposes will stretch too far. The idea of amazon using drones sounds neat on paper, but I have difficulty believing they’d work efficiently, as there will be a number of obstacles for them to go around at any height.

  23. Massi M says:

    The popularity of unmanned air drones (UAD) for domestic and international military purposes has grown. The once futuristic concept of stealth surveillance to collect information, photograph, and even deploy lethal arsenal is now realized in single mechanism. These devices enable military strategists to implementing sophisticated strike without endangering human lives and allow politicians to acts without fear of reprisal from constituents. Furthermore, as governments at all levels struggle to provide services with scarce resources, the use of drone to argument or eliminate expenses associated with human resources (e.g. salary, health care), while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of services is greatly needed. Military usefulness notwithstanding, the use of UAD’s for domestic purposes raise many concerns about living in a police state (privacy), and public safety. This is particularly concerning given recent discoveries of federal agencies monitoring American communications, and the extreme actions of one American citizen to expose this practice (although I still think Edward Snowmen’s actions were espionage). One of the tenets of American society is that we do not want the government inferring with our private lives, hence, the fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which restricts the government’s ability to search and seizure property. The use of unmanned air drones as depicted in this article violates federal and state laws referring to cartilage of private property. As for the public safety issues of UAD programs being overridden or reprogrammed to collect information or fire on American targets, it’s possible given skills of organizations like anonymous (a hacker organization that infiltrated the federal reserve bank). All things considerate, I like much of the military usages because it’s cost effective and saves lives but few of the domestic.

  24. Jade M says:

    Using the drones to spy on other countries does sound like a good idea, however I honestly believe this world has taken the use of technology to a whole new level! If these drones began delivering mail to our doors, they will probably take away the jobs of those who work at UPS, FedEx, etc. As a civilian, excepting these drones into our daily lives is dangerous and unnecessary. They are suppose to detect enemies, how will they know who the enemies are? These drones are not programmed to have emotions and probably no sense of reality. Because they will lack these human characteristics, they might be under the wrong impression and harm an innocent person. The government is saying it is used for war purposes but before you know it, we will have to except drones into our daily lives!

  25. Justin B says:

    i think that the overall idea of drones in general is good if you can guarantee they cant get hacked. What is the point in spending all this money on drones to do your work that can easily get taken over? Computers can glitch and mess up as well. Say you have a drone flying to deliver a package to somebody and the thing crashes down into somebody’s house or car. Who is going to pay for the damage? All in all, i’m down for the drones if you can fix the mistakes that would occur and prevent the hacking.

  26. Caleigh M says:

    I don’t feel that drones are necessarily a bad thing, I think that it just depends on who is using them and to what extent. If drones are helpful in the military aspect of it because they are hard to detect, are very small and can be used for surveillance, then by all means go for it. But, if you are just using them to deliver a package or civilian use, then they aren’t really necessary. Reasons for this are because drones are controlled by satellites, satellites are controlled by computers, which in turn can be hacked, let’s say by a terrorist. The terrorist can hack the computer and direct the drone to fly into a highly populated area to kill millions of people. Like I said, I’m not for or against the use of drones, I think it just depends on how and who is using them.

  27. Kate H says:

    Using a drone in order to spy on potential terrorists within another country is a good idea as long as they have enough evidence before releasing it on our own soil.There is no need for them to be used in order to transport goods that people have ordered online unless you are just trying to ruin peoples lives. The drivers of the UPS trucks as well as the other ones could end up losing their jobs because all of the businesses they delivered for have decided to resort to drone delivery instead. It may be a faster delivery time for whatever we have ordered, but do we really want to risk it? Do we want to risk that drone being hacked by some kind of terrorist organization and having attack all of those around us just because we wanted something online? There are already risks of the technology we use being hacked by those who want to hurt us so why make it any easier on them by giving them even moire targets with probably a smaller firewall to break through. Let the military handle the drones so that everyone else can get back to their daily routines.

  28. Ivy C says:

    I think that we should partially be concerned about drones being placed into use, but not overly concerned at the same time. Technology has come a long way in the past couple decades, surely the government would not take into consideration that drones could possibly be hacked by one of the very many enemies this country has acquired over the years of its existence. I think that drones being used should only become a problem if they were solely depended on and ultimately replaced humans wholly, then we should give this concept of drones some close examination and more thought. As far as using these drones as more of an assistant there shouldn’t be too much to worry about as long as the creators and anyone using them do not get in over their head and look at this concept with a naive eye thinking that nothing can go wrong, i.e drones being hacked like Sony was recently hacked. Everything and anything is possible no matter how far concepts and technology has advanced.

  29. Kali E says:

    The wonderful world of technology! This is an interesting topic. Its a fairly well known fact that technology advances so quickly that lawmakers have a difficult time keeping up, and it often seems like no preventative measures are taken and that laws are not established until after incident. Drones for military use are, in my eyes, way more acceptable than those for domestic use. The idea of being under surveillance at any time is creepy. It’s the whole “Big Brother” idea. I am personally uncomfortable with the idea of drones and other AI. I will not say that I am not impressed with the technological advances made in this day and age, but I will say we should be careful where we tread.

  30. Ashley P says:

    The use of drones has its pros and cons in its usage both domestically and internationally. These powerful and expensive machines can be used to protect the lives of millions of people whether it be natural disasters or terrorism. However, the issue lies mainly on the infiltration of our privacy within our own homes (believed to be the most sacred place of our life), effect on employment rate and malfunctioning of a computer driven technology. The effect of unemployment rate arises when these drones begin to replace our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers or any family members working with companies with the intention of adopting these new forms of technology. Without any doubt, any employer would find the use of a drone to be much more efficient as it won’t get sick, no issue with tardiness, no monthly salary needed, no social security fee needs to be paid and the list goes on. In fact the only help these drones may need are technical experts controlling them and their maintenance. The final argument is the malfunctioning of the drone, to be more specific if the drone is hacked by a terrorist. The question is, what strategy is being implemented to combat such scenario. These drones may become an easier tactic for terrorism to occur in our own back yard and it would be eve worst to add and say that such innovative technology created by us got into the wrong hands only to destroy us.

  31. Jack H says:

    I think that drones are a great idea to speed up the process of mail like Amazon is trying to do. I also believe that drones are very helpful during war so that we don’t have to risk actual human life to attack our enemies. The fact that these drones can be hacked is a potential issue but with technology continuing to advance I believe we can make it to where these drones are near impossible to hack. Drones are in the early stages of development right now and have much potential money to be made and i think that if we expand on our ideas for the drones they could be the new, more efficient way of doing many things that we do form day to day.

  32. Victoria S says:

    Initially, I would have to say that I am opposed to drone usage in the general sense. On the military front, while using drones greatly reduces our military’s casualties and increases the potential for surveillance, theoretically improving accuracy in identifying the enemy, increased usage of drones in battle could create an impersonal atmosphere to the harsh reality of fighting and reduce peoples’ personal interest in the outcome of military operations. Do foreign lives matter and does anyone really care that we’re at war as long as none of us are dying? On the other hand, as I saw someone else mention before, if we (the US) were not to use drones in combat, it does not ensure that other countries would follow suit. I am all for the policy of “speak softly and carry a big stick”, as long as we are the “good guys”, but then again, will there never be a lapse of judgement from our leaders or come a time when our government goes against the ruling of the people on what many could consider an invasion of privacy? While the idea of having Amazon deliver your purchase directly to your door by use of drones sounds great, if we are to ever use drones commercially there MUST be set ethical laws governing the usage and type (unarmed) of drones in homeland airspace as well as those used for battle. If we could ensure that drones would not be hacked and threaten the security of our own country and that the policies and guidelines set forth for the governing of these drones was strictly adhered to, I would not be as opposed to their usage.

  33. Gentry c says:

    I think drones are a great advancement in technology but should only be used for military purposes. I don’t agree with the idea of being watched over constantly. I enjoy my privacy and think the drones we have shouldn’t be used to spy on U.S. citizens unless they have been targeted as a threat. Either way drones can be very useful if we us them the correct way or they may become dangerous if they stay unsupervised. I think we are off to a good start on the future of drones but still have a long way to go with regulating them and determining what exactly they will be used for.

  34. Gentry C says:

    I think drones are a great advancement in technology but should only be used for military purposes. I don’t like the idea of being constantly watched over. I enjoy my privacy and think the drones should only be spying on foreign enemies or citizens that have been marked as threats to the United States. Either way drones have the potential to be a very useful tool if we regulate their usage correctly. If possible they should be only used by the military to help keep our soldiers mortally rate down and spy on other countries. There are many pros and cons to the concept of drones and I think through trial and error we will find the right laws and regulations for drone usage.

  35. Emily E says:

    Technology continues to blow me away. Hopefully not literally though. Drones seem like they would have many benefits. But no matter how much something could benefit me I care more about the protection of myself and others around me. Anyone who has a family should fear drones. Protocols need to be put on drones as soon as possible or production and use needs to become illegal. A drone that is unarmed it still not safe. It could run into things and still cause tremendous amounts of damage. The simple solution to me is to stop drones.

  36. Katie F says:

    Drones are incredibly advanced and a great example of how far we have come in the advancement of technology. However, I don’t think these are neccesary to have as civilians in every day life. I think that these are great tools for government use but I do feel like it’s a tad creepy that they’re able to spy on us in our daily lives. After time I think we as a nation will be more comfortable and informed on how to make laws pertaining to drones.

  37. Gavin W says:

    The scenario provided was frightening to think about. I think the idea of drones (unregulated ones at that) flying freely in U.S. domestic airspace is a bit scary. Maybe if the drones were to be regulated in the future the whole idea may seem a bit more safer and appealing.

  38. Zach N says:

    It’s really interesting to see how far technology has come in the last decade, but something about drones is throwing me off. I don’t know if it is because of all of the robot/drone movies I have seen where something always goes wrong and not to mention they’re always horror movies or the fact that these inventions have come so far that they’re developing all of these human traits. I don’t know if it is just me, but I would prefer if everyone jus took it easy on the developmental side and enjoyed where we are at now in the technological standpoint.

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