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Does the use of drones violate our constitutional rights?

Updated on March 31, 2013

The use of drones is a hot topic for debate these days. The main question surrounding the use of these tools and they are tools are whether their use violates our constitutional rights as citizens. The increase in the use of these tools as reported in various media sources raises many questions not the least of which is our privacy and constitutional rights. Before going further it is important to state that I am not against the use of these instruments in some form. The objections I have are some of the conditions or criteria in which they are being used or planned to be used. Technology is always a good thing and drones are one of the good things technology has brought us.

Good purposes do exist for using drones some of which involve search and rescue, fighting fires, inspecting bridges, pipelines, power lines and finding victims of storms to name a few. Some of the anticipated uses which may be inappropriate involve monitoring traffic patterns to identify indentify individuals who may have violated posted speed limits. Drones can be compared to the use of video cameras used by some law enforcement organizations to monitor traffic patterns. In some cases these video cameras have faced court battles and the use of drones may fall in the same situation though for different yet valid concerns.

The use of drones in areas where it may be dangerous for individuals to access to monitor or evaluate situations is a valid use of this technology but to have drones flying over us at any given point in some ways violates our privacy. What we do as individuals is our choice and even though individuals may sometimes violate the law the use of drones has many individuals concerned. One question which needs to be resolved and may be answered in our court system is whether using drones violates our right to face our accuser in a court. Facing our accusers is a right we have under the Constitution under Amendment 6 and should not be violated.

Some supporters of using drones say we should not be concerned if we are not violating the law at any given point when a drone is in use. Though this fact may present some justification in terms of reducing some costs of enforcing the law it dismisses the requirement under Amendment 6.

Today government is becoming a bigger part of our lives and in some ways we may not even realize it but using drones creates a big brother environment. I am all for enforcing the laws of our country and states and providing the tools to make enforcement more efficient. Providing tools to our law enforcement agencies to help them is not the problem but the tools and how they are utilized.

The use of drones may be an increased part of our future but some criteria needs to be established to ensure our individual rights as granted to us under the Constitution are not violated. Another question to be answered is who will control the drones and when they will be used. This needs to be clearly defined. Also the security of this technology also needs to be ensured so those who should not have access to it is restricted. Presently states are competing to become FAA drone test sites. Those which are picked will see a dramatic increase in job growth and improvement in the financial outlook of their states.

In summary the use of drones can or will enhance and increase efficiency in several organizations which are responsible including the government to take action when situations arise. Examples above such as search and rescue, fighting fires, inspecting bridges and pipelines and searching for victims of disasters such as hurricanes. They will definitely be beneficial but like all technology it can be misused or accessed by those who are not authorized to use the technology and is why this technology must be secured.


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