The idea of thousands of unmanned aircraft patrolling the skies over America seems like something out of a conspiracy theorist’s handbook. But it’s actually a topic that is discussed increasingly the mainstream, especially with the recent passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act. This act allows expanded access for unmanned aircraft, commonly refered to as drones, in U.S. airspace.
Recent use of drone technology was seen in Iraq and is still used in Afghanistan (and to some extent in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier province.) The U.S. Air Force uses drones in reconnaissance and for tactical strikes against targets that are too difficult to reach with conventional aircraft and too dangerous to approach with ground troops.
In United States, the media has dubbed drone expansion as a revolution that will come with a number of significant privacy concerns. Thomas Drake, a former senior official with the National Security Agency and whistleblower who uncovered serious lapses in privacy protection by the U.S. Government, offers an interesting reason for the expansion of surveillance technologies in America– one that has its roots in the wake of the September 11 attacks.