MAR 12, 2013
BY DAWUD WALID
Michigan state Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills, is proposing legislation that will place restrictions on state and local law enforcement – as well as private citizens – legal ability to monitor us via drones. We should all support McMillin’s effort as protection from intrusive Big Brother snooping.
The evolution of drone technology has evolved more quickly than our laws – among them the cherished right to privacy. For a minimum price, an unmanned aerial device can be outfitted with a high-powered camera and microphone to follow us and invade our private lives. Not only do police forces have the capacity to track (and potentially racially profile) people with drones, but there are also no current legal restrictions for private citizens to fly devices to follow and record others. This is beyond even Orwell’s “1984″ imaginings.
If police forces have warrants issued by judges to use drones to follow persons (or use them in emergency situations) – great. Such usage is more efficient than using old school helicopters. The problem is that law enforcement agencies have a history of overstepping their bounds, which could now include surveillance via drones.
All loopholes on unwarranted and non-emergency usage of unmanned aerial devices should be closed so that state and local police aren’t playing the role of information gatherers on law-abiding citizens in the name of crime prevention. Moreover, a signal needs to be sent to Peeping Toms that such technology cannot be used in Michigan to get kicks from following or stalking people.
Yes to responsible usage of technology – no to widespread use of drones.