The Champion

January-February 2013 , Page 09 

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The Droning of America: Here, There, and Everywhere (Inside NACDL)

By Norman L. Reimer

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No, this column is not a tribute to a beautiful old Beatles love song.1 It is a reference to the dawning of the era of domestic drones — a vast array of unmanned eyes in the sky, that come in all shapes and sizes, featuring a surveillance capability unmatched in human history.

For those who think these devices are only deployed overseas as a tool in the arsenal to strike at alleged terrorists, think again. While Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, known as “UAVs” or remote-piloted aircraft, have become a centerpiece in counterterrorism strategy, domestic use has already begun. Last year President Obama signed legislation authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop specific rules to accelerate the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system by 2015. It is estimated that drones will be a $5 billion-plus industry.2 The FAA predicts that 30,000 drones will be deployed within 20 years.3 Early authorizations have already ushered in the domestic d

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