Tuesday, February 5, 2013

June 26, 2012 - Will Ashtabula be the first to become a Drone-Free Zone?

If we think traffic cameras are bad, witness the Measure 54 victory, what about drones? Here in Ashtabula we can call the question now.

Drones, now taking to the air around the country, are expected to explode in number over the next several years. They are costly, threaten our privacy, and bring with them the threat of further law enforcement which does not increase our security, but instead augments the flow of funds to government using our tax dollars.

The burgeoning drone industry, now worth billions, is taking to the air as law enforcement at all levels, local to federal, rush to buy the units supplied through war contractors. The FAA has streamlined the process for usage by agencies. Applications are being expedited though an online process, according to Bloomberg.com. There is money to be made and it is we who will pay in multiple ways.

Americans have seen the evidence of how the units can, and are used in Afghanistan and elsewhere by the military. Today Americans have also learned drones can be hacked, security is not guaranteed.

As the hum of drones fades in Afghanistan it begins to rise, here in America.

The companies who produced drones as weapons and surveillance systems for the military, are now eying the far more lucrative law enforcement functions within the United States. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International reports more than 2,100 members, anxious for sales. Industry figures indicate a present market of $5.9 billion, this expected to double in the next decade.

With billions to be made we can expect a flood of well-oiled arguments on why we have no Constitutionally protected right to privacy if a hovering drone can edge into our private space, photographing us without our consent, especially if operated by law enforcement.

Becoming the first Drone-Free Zone is therefore a question of our security, financial, physical, and spiritual. Money is tight. Our privacy is precious to us. We know how we feel about this kind of intrusion.

The proposed ordinance is one page and easy to understand. http://www.knowdrones.com/ORDINANCE-1.pdf

Police should spend their time keeping the peace, not looking at photos of us going about our business in these times of economic trauma.

We can be first. With one act we can secure our peace of mind and lead the way for others.

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