Drone Warfare, No Need for a Bounty, This one is on me
By: Julia Sieben / http://www.lady-patriots.com/drone-warfare/
Partly an earnest attempt to raise cash flow in a town that is only known for being the home of the first rodeo in the world, the sleepy town with a population of approximately 500 has gained not only the attention of hunters, but also Patriots, and Washington DC.
The FAA released a statement Friday in response to Deer Trail’s new ordinance that is under consideration. The FAA administration out of Washington, DC made notice to the public in this statement that they regulate the nation’s airspace, including the airspace over cities, towns and residences. FAA warned that firing guns at any drones would be endangering the public and property, and any violations could result in prosecution or fines.
In the statement it said, “A drone hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air. Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane.”
As stated in our previous editorial, Deer Trail would grant the hunting permits to shoot down drones for a fee of $25.00, and award in a bounty $100.00 for any successful kill. Authentication of any downed drone would be an identifiable piece of the drone. All permits issued would be kept anonymous, only requiring limitations that the petitioner was 21 years old or older, used Joe Biden’s choice of weapon (a shotgun), and that the recipient spoke English.
When Deer Trail resident Phillip Steel, author of the bill, was interviewed he indicated that he already had 28 signatures. Under Colorado law, any petition that obtains 10 percent of an areas registered voter’s signatures, must be formally considered for adoption or put on the ballot for the next election. Mr. Steel has met this requirement, and anticipates that the counsel shall take up the bill in August.
“I don’t want to live in a surveillance society. I don’t feel like being in a virtual prison,” Steel said. “This is a pre-emptive strike.” As we previously quoted in our earlier edition.
When asked about the FAA warning to Deer Trail, Steel dismissed the warning,. “The FAA doesn’t have the power to make a law,” he said.
Actually what some may dismiss as a ranting of a redneck, gun toting, crazy conservative is mostly correct. The FAA which is in charge of establishing regulations for the use of unmanned drones is far behind in developing the regulations. Congress gave the agency until 2015, but very little is enacted law. Most all the regulations are who can apply for a license to fly the drones, the airspace in which these drones may fly, and the qualifications of the type of drones.
What is not addressed is the use of these drones. There are no limitations or requirements for licensing of any drone that is classified as a hobbyist. Small drones, under twenty-five pounds, flown during daylight hours, and under the 400 feet above surface is pretty limitless. In fact, as brought to our awareness by an article in USA Today, Blue Eye Investigations, touts the advertisement on their page, “authorized to operate aerial drone surveillance,” featuring a photo of Blue Eye’s eye-in-the-sky, a large, mechanical spider lifted by four rotor blades, carrying a video camera under a glass dome. Blue Eye’s business is a private investigation company. One of those shady, sleazy companies that make a livelihood lurking in bushes and behind blacked out glass, while the take pictures of the cars in your drive way or peep in your windows.
Their ad even continues as such: “Blue Eye Investigation is now the ONLY Private Investigation firm in Kentucky currently authorized to operate areal Drone surveillance. What vehicles are located at the residence? Should he be working on the roof?? —I thought he was on workman’s comp? Who is he with??…His wife is in Chicago!”
In fact the owner of Blue Eye Investigations was questioned by USA Today about his claim on his website. Richard Travelstead, owner of Blue Eye in Louisville, Ky., confesses that his site’s message contains what he calls a bit of marketing, given that no one authorized him to use his drone.
No one has to authorize him to spy on you on your private property, the rules and regulations of the FAA exempt him from such a license.
It is not the “Richard Travelsteads of America” most Americans are worried about, as the residents of Deer Trail, it’s the government. In fact until recently, use of drones inside our borders was basically denied by governmental officials, until it was disclosed that the FBI has been using them on a regular basis to monitor citizens.
FBI Director Robert Mueller revealed at the Judiciary Committee held June 19, 2013 that the bureau uses drones to conduct surveillance on U.S. soil. When Mueller was asked if the bureau had developed a set of policies governing drone use and privacy protections, Mueller said that such a process was just starting.
“We are in the initial stages of doing that,” Mueller said, emphasizing that the FBI drone program was in the nascent stages. “I will tell you that our footprint is very small. We have very few of limited use, and we’re exploring not only the use, but the necessary guidelines for that use.”
Feinstein asked again on what protections the FBI has in place to protect privacy; Mueller said the main safeguard is the way the drones are used.
“It is very narrowly focused on particularized cases and particularized needs,” Mueller said. “That is the principal privacy limitation we have.”