So if you’re anything like me, you know nothing about military weaponry. I don’t know the logistics of defense strategy, or anything about all of this “homeland security” business. Well, I do know some things but not enough to have an intelligent conversation about it. My military vocabulary is limited to words like “tanks”, “guns” and “Nazi’s”. So, yeah.
I first became aware of the “drone issue” at work, thanks to the latest cover of TIME magazine. My coworker, who probably knows even less than I do, attempted to explain the whole thing to me but failed miserably so I decided to do some research of my own. I’ll leave it here, in case any of you other average Americans (or non-Americans, because let’s face it we’re not the only ones with these sorts of military capabilities) might want to know what’s going on.
- A “drone” or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft without a human pilot on board. It is either controlled autonomously (which is the terrifying part) or by a pilot with a remote control on the ground (which is equally as terrifying, especially if you’ve ever tried to fly one of those remote-control helicopters that are practically impossible to keep in the freakin’ air).
- The issue that everyone is having with them: US citizens have very little privacy protection from domestic police work done by these drones. The drones themselves are equipped with all sorts of evasive technology like face-recognition software and license plate scanners. Apparently (according to wikipedia) there is currently no privacy protection for US citizens even when on their own private property. That is obviously problematic.
- The police aren’t the only ones that can use “drones”. The media is allowed too. (There have been reports of Occupy reporters using them to video occupy gatherings.)
- Congress is pushing for increased “drone” authorization.
- President Obama addressed drones in his State of the Union, but without actually saying anything about drones. (Love you ‘bama, but you gotta work on that whole actually talking about shit thing. You say a lot without saying anything at all, dude.)
Basically, that’s it. The issue is one of privacy, and not one of increased military action against unarmed civilians which is immediately what I thought of when I heard and saw the word “drone”. Also, the picture on TIME’s cover is terrifying and looks like something out of District 9. Privacy scholars argue that an increased authorization of “drones” would actually lead to more talks on current privacy law and may actually lead to better, more beneficial privacy legislation.
If you think you know more than me (and you probably do) leave it in the comments. Correct me where I am (and wikipedia is) wrong, or feel free to explain the issue better than I can. Just don’t jump down my throat about liking Obama or something because that’s not what this shit is even about. Got it?