ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Spies in the Sky: The Big Brother Drones Policing America

Updated on February 17, 2013

Like the book, 1984, and many B-type sci-fi movies, the rise of drones and big brother are here. We are not talking of military drones, like the Predator, but smaller and unarmed ones that many police departments claim they need to fight criminals. These non-military drones can do all sorts of things, like:

  • Record video
  • Create heat images
  • Track anyone including criminals
  • Find missing people
  • Track illegals or protesters
  • Hover for surveillance
  • Find lost people
  • Locate bombs

But the spy in the sky is making many Americans nervous and their right of privacy, hmm, well, that is vanishing. Between police drones and traffic cameras, going out in public loses any privacy. There is a large drone market out there, almost $90 billion is estimated in the next decade.

But the rise of the drones for domestic use right now has no rules or laws about how police can use them. Abuse is just around the corner especially search and seizure searches. States like Arizona and Montana require a search warrant before collecting evidence with a drone. Virginia has outlawed them for now. Idaho allows police their "discretion" in using drones on suspected activities-well, we know where this will go.

Drones can be very cost effective in fighting crime but the potential for police abuse may be just too much. Civilian drones are much smaller and resemble toys, run on batteries and fly short distances and are armed with sensors and cameras. They weigh a mere 4-5 pounds. Seattle police bought several only to return them once the public found out and protested. Oakland wanted to buy some also, but the public opposition was so much, the drone was not bought.

Drones do monitor the US-Mexico border and are very effective, but these are military drones that can stay aloft for over a day. What about targeting a US citizen using a drone, right now, the police need a warrant in some places. What if the US citizen is a terrorist? Should a drone be used to take him out? The Department of Homeland Security thinks so because the US citizen has lost all benefits due to his terrorist affiliation. But some members in Congress take issue with this. Should evidence collected by a drone of such a US citizen in the US be used to prosecute without a warrant?

Lots of good questions with only murky answers.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      The drones are just now coming to police departments and all are struggling with their use and abuses. So, big brother in the sky is still years away. But in London, he's already there with traffic cams. London has the most cams of any large city, wherever you go there is a potential someone is watching.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Life is a double edge sword...Whatever good thing comes something lurks behind. It is scary to think our privace is invaded. Well done.

    • poetvix profile image


      5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      While I can see the advantages from a military and to a point a police prospective, I can't argue a single point you have made towards the potential for abuse. Considering the behavior of our leaders over the last four years, abuse is probable on a good Vegas bet level!

      I respectfully submit another nightmare problem with this technology I don't believe is getting enough play. Hacking, viruses, taking over by children! Technology is great but we all know it's a double edged sword. Can't you just see it now, in the not so distant future... Little Billy was really pissed, so after a bad day at school he took his little self home and used his savant skills to commandeer three local drones and took out the entire town!

      The idea of drones regularly seen over the American sky evokes images of a cross between "1984", "Atlas Shrugged" and the future of mankind as laid out in the "Terminator." Scary boo!

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      I agree. We need a clear guideline for domestic use.

    • Conservative Lady profile image


      5 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      You have raised a lot of legitimate questions here. Drones may well be useful tools for the Military. My feelings are that citizens are right to be cautious about letting local government have Drones. I would think they would have a hard time justifying their cause. Interesting Hub.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)