Drones are set to take over US skies soon, and there is growing concern the public will lose their privacy to these spy planes.
The winners are the drone makers, and much of the reason for that is the aggressive and powerful lobbying by the defense and aerospace industry.
The drones of today have revolutionized modern warfare and are known for their seek and destroy missions over Afghanistan and Pakistan. The drones of tomorrow, however, will be humming over American homes.
“There may be up to 30,000 drones flying in US skies by 2020, which is a huge number. Basically, one in every town,”said Trevor Timm from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Now that Congress and the president have cleared the way for spy planes to fly in US skies, defense and aerospace firms are pushing their weight in D.C. in hopes of cashing in on the expected drone business boon.
“Right now the global market is worth $6 billion but it’s supposed to double to over $11 billion within the next decade,”said a Andrea Stone, reporter with the Huffington Post.
In 2001, the Defense Department had 90 drones. Just eleven years later, though, and it has an arsenal of more than 9,500 remotely piloted aircraft. With wars winding down overseas, most of those unmanned aircraft will be used domestically for surveillance and disaster assistance, raising safety and privacy concerns.
“Why do you need drones against your citizens? That’s military weaponry? You’re police is not your military and we’ve lost that distinction,” said peace activist Maureen Cruise.