Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird, plane, a drone? And who let the drones out? Who? Who? Who?

Good morning, fellow babies. Wanna get some idea just who has been licensed to operate drones in the US? Well, the veil may be lifting (though I seriously doubt it will be fully pulled back) as the FAA finally got around to answering a FOIA request for drone operator information filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Not anything too tin-foil-y to see here.  Which, of course, makes some of us a bit, well, tin-foil-y, wondering what the reports don’t include. The FAA says more information will be released in response to the EEF’s FOIA requests.

Seems a lot of universities and research groups get to operate drones. That makes sense. Easy to understand that amazing things could be learned about our environment with an assist from drones carrying various sampling and measuring devices. Why not use some of the tech developed for learning about Martian atmosphere on finding out more of the particulars about our own? Maybe some scientists will gather information that might make a dent in the climate change deniers’ thick skulls? My feeble mind can only imagine what other leaps of science cold be made using these flying tools.

But who else might be watching, and what might they be watching for? Am old enough to have misgivings about the intent of many of my fellow inhabitants of this pretty blue sphere. Not everyone has the same ethical standards and respect for others that my heroes have.

I wanna know what law enforcement agencies have license to fly drones, what kinds of drones they are flying, and what tricks those drones can do. But that’s just me, being cautious about what local agencies who may not have the best track records re civil rights protection might be up to. Can you imagine someone who likes to maintain dossiers on critics and political enemies like, oh say (soon to be former) sheriff Joe Arpaio has eyes in the skies over your ‘hood? And what sort of mischief could unethical corporations and/or media get up to with the capability to fly over your family BBQ, or maybe look in your windows?

And I would like to know what sort of tools can be put up in the air that might have impact on people. Crowd control? Mood enhancement chemicals? I have jokingly wondered what might happen if a crop duster filled with some psycho-active chems were to hose some of us down. Now, I am not so sure I say it completely in jest.  Still thinking back to the very short-lived news item, early in the Bush/Cheney administration, re DOD, crowd calming substances, and the hunt for a method of delivery, for, you know, calming urban populations in areas where the US military might be deployed.  That little gem of brilliant candor disappeared from media pretty fast, which always gives me pause.

Anyway, enjoy the interactive map. It is interesting and mildly comforting. Bookmark the EFF site. Looks like another good resource for your tool bag for keeping an eye on what is going on in areas some of us are just not watchful enough.

Or, we could all just hum and go back to sleep.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. KB723
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 16:09:19

    Ha!!! I read an article today about how Drones will be overlooking the Protests… Here’s a Link… 😦


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