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ACTION ALERT; Tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans


March 18, 2012
CREDO

Congress and President Obama recently enacted a law directing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations that will open up the sky to the domestic use of unmanned aerial drones. Yet Congress failed to establish any rules to ensure that drones won't be used to spy on Americans. That's why CREDO is working to create a critical mass of public pressure to tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans. Click below to sign the petition.

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/stop_drones/

(March 15, 2012) -- Congress and President Obama recently enacted a law directing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations that will open up the sky to the domestic use of unmanned aerial drones.

Yet Congress failed to establish any rules to ensure that drones won't be used to spy on Americans.

That's why CREDO is working to create a critical mass of public pressure to tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans.

Click here to sign the petition.

Disconcertingly, a drone industry trade group that deemed "civil liberties" a barrier to their growth also boasted that Congress adopted their suggested changes to this legislation "word for word."1

We can't let the drone industry dictate how the FAA writes the final regulations. But that's exactly what will happen if they're the only ones who weigh in.

Already groups such as the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have spoken out to ask the FAA to specifically consider, and let the public weigh in on, the privacy implications of the regulations they issue.2 And we need to build a critical mass to make sure the public -- not just drone manufacturers -- have a chance to weigh in.

Tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans. Click here to sign the petition.

In their letter to the FAA, the coalition of groups that included the ACLU and the EFF outlined why drones represent such a potential threat to our civil liberties, saying:

Drones greatly increase the capacity for domestic surveillance. Gigapixel cameras used to outfit drones are among the highest definition cameras available, and can "provide real-time video streams at a rate of 10 frames a second." On some drones, operators can track up to 65 different targets across a distance of 65 square miles. Drones may also carry infrared cameras, heat sensors, GPS, sensors that detect movement, and automated license plate readers. In the near future these camera may include facial recognition technology that would make it possible to remotely identify individuals in parks, schools, and at political gatherings.3

In sum, drones have the capacity to capture huge amounts of information in a way that's relatively cheaper and easier (not to mention, more detailed and more discreet) than what can be done by, for example, someone flying in a helicopter.

The privacy implications of unleashing thousands of these sophisticated surveillance devices into American airspace must factor into any regulations that govern their use.

Tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans. Click the link below to sign the petition:

http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/stop_drones/

Thank you for speaking out.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager



P.S. Domestic surveillance isn't the only way drones can be misused. Our government's use of drones overseas has been deeply troubling, and we strongly oppose their use in extrajudicial killings.

But while the FAA has no authority to regulate drone use overseas, we must speak out at this critical time to prevent what amounts to a significant escalation of their use domestically.

That is why it is so important to speak out now and tell the FAA not to let drones spy on Americans. Click here to sign the petition.


The Letter
Subject: Tell the FAA: Don't let aerial drones spy on Americans

Dear Friend,
Congress and President Obama recently enacted a law directing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue regulations that will open up the sky to the domestic use of unmanned aerial drones. Yet Congress failed to establish any rules to ensure that drones won't be used to spy on Americans.

Disconcertingly, a drone industry trade group that deemed "civil liberties" a barrier to their growth also boasted that Congress adopted their suggested changes to this legislation "word for word." We can't let the drone industry dictate how the FAA writes the final regulations. But that's exactly what will happen if they're the only ones who weigh in. You can find out more information and easily take action at the website below.
http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/stop_drones/?r_by=-1577840-lVMFHPx&rc=paste1

1. "Exclusive: PowerPoint Shows Drone Industry's Lobbying Plan To Expand Over Domestic, Law Enforcement Markets," Lee Fang, Republic Report, 2-15-12
2. Letter to Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator, United States Federal Aviation Administration, dated 2-24-12
3. Ibid.




Exclusive: PowerPoint Shows Drone Industry’s Lobbying Plan To Expand Over Domestic, Law Enforcement Markets

Lee Fang / Republic Report

(March 15, 2012) -- Drones are mainly associated with the Predator airships that patrol the Afghanistan sky. But thanks to a bipartisan vote last week, the public can expect 30,000 domestic drones flying over the United States in the next eight years.

The dramatic change in policy, which has raised concerns with everyone from civil liberties groups like the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation to the pilot association and the Independent Institute, as well as conservative think tanks, occurred thanks to an aggressive and well-organized effort by drone makers and their lobbyists.

Yesterday, we reported how the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVS), a drone trade group, actually doubled its recent lobbying expenses. Today, we report on a PowerPoint presentation put together by top AUVS lobbyists Michael Toscano, Mario Mairena, and Ben Gielow. The lobby group — which maintains an official partnership in Congress with Reps. Buck McKeon (R-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and dozens of other lawmakers — was the driving force behind the domestic drone decision passed last week. In the presentation obtained by Republic Report, there are several fascinating concerns raised by the lobbyists:

– Page 5: Drone lobbyists claimed access to airspace and “Global Conflict – particularly U.S. and allied nation involvement in future conflicts” will “either positively or negatively” influence “market growth” for the industry.

– Page 6: The drone lobbyists take full credit for authoring the expansion of domestic drone use codified in the FAA authorization bill passed last week, noting “the only changes made to the UAS section of the House FAA bill were made at the request of AUVSI. Our suggestions were often taken word-for-word.”

– Pages 10-12: The drone industry eagerly anticipates that civil drone use, including use of drones for “suspect tracking” by law enforcement, will soon eclipse military use of drones. Under a section called “Challenges facing UAS,” the lobbyists listed “Civil Liberties.”

View the presentation below:

http://www.slideshare.net/lhfang/drone-lobby-presentation



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