Saturday Feb 11, 201204:30 AM GMT
New bill to allow 30,000 drones to fill American skies by 2020
Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:7PM
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There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities.”

Steven Aftergood, head of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists

The US Congress has passed a bill which approves government’s deployment of up to 30,000 spy drones in the country’s airspace by 2020, raising serious concerns about the ensuing privacy infringement.


The bill, which facilitates the government use of unmanned spy planes in US airspace, requires the Federal Aviation Administration to rush a plan to get as many drones in the air as possible within nine months.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, which US President Barack Obama is expected to sign, also orders the FAA to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015, The Washington Times reported.

Privacy advocates have protested that the measure will lead to the widespread use of drones for electronic surveillance by police agencies across the country and eventually by private companies as well.

“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation also is “concerned about the implications for surveillance by government agencies,” said attorney Jennifer Lynch.

The provision in the legislation is the fruit of “a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones” in American airspace, she added.

According to some estimates, the commercial drone market in the United States could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars once the FAA clears their use.

The US has been using the unmanned vehicles for its spy operations and assassination missions worldwide and the strikes have intensified since Obama took office three years ago.

HMV/HGH
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