What is the point of having this splendid military, if you never use it against your own citizens?


Unmanned aircraft, having performed well in Iraq and Afghanistan, are coming to a police department near you. Declan McCullagh gives the lowdown on drone usage for border patrol, marijuana hunting, and something called "thermal rooftop inspections." A Maryland Sheriff's department has already used the "CyberBUG" to snoop on a biker gathering at a local fairgrounds, and the Gaston County, NC, police department is rolling out an unmanned air force of its own. Unmanned aircraft have been used since 2004 to patrol the Arizona border (with Mexico, presumably, not Utah).

Unless I missed something, none of yesterday's testimony on unmanned aircraft at the House transportation subcommittee mentioned any privacy concerns. The only real objection came from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which worries that UAs will collide with manned aircraft—something that has happened once in Iraq. (Forget the Killer Bee vs. the Predator!)

Related: "We Can Put A Man On The Moon, But We Can't Make Killer Robot Police?"