Last updated on Feb 17, 2016
By Joseph Iemma
Assistant Features Editor
Remember those toy helicopters you used to see flying through the mall? You always told your mom you wanted one, but she never did buy you one because you “would break it within an hour.” Fast-forward ten years and the remote controlled helicopter concept has become a drone, and this drone isn’t just for kids; it’s for adults.
The least expensive drone model, the DJI-Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter, goes for $499.99 at your local Best Buy. Once your drone purchase is made, let the games begin.
The Phantom 3’s payload features a state of the art high-definition camera. When modified, it can record precise video/imaging from nearly 100 feet above the ‘target.’
Over the past two years, drones have been spotted across the nation recording activity above Los Angeles Police Department Headquarters, major intersections in both New York City and Los Angeles and have been the subject of over 1,000 calls to law enforcement nationwide, according to mercurynews.com.
Now, don’t for a second think that law enforcement isn’t looking into stopping drones. (Coupled with the fact that the federal government and Federal Aviation Administration have already placed altitude regulations on drones). According to mercurynews.com, police in San Jose, California, have created their own ‘police drone.’ Not to mention the syndicated news blog, RT.com, reported that U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor has voiced concerns that without sufficient protections, the age of unmanned drones and ubiquitous surveillance will usher in an “Orwellian world.”
“That type of technology has to stimulate us to think about what is it that we cherish in privacy and how far we want to protect it and from whom,” Sotomayor said, as she spoke before a group of faculty members and students at Oklahoma City University’s law school in September 2015. “Because people think that it should be protected just against government intrusion, but I don’t like the fact that someone I don’t know…can pick up, if they’re a private citizen, one of these drones and fly it over my property.”
At first glance, drones seem harmless indeed, but like many things in today’s world, they can be used as a weapon that can inflict serious damage. Think I’m being a little overly critical? Okay, but first, please be aware of this, the blueprint of the modern day drone was devised so U.S. and other advanced military forces can fly unmanned aircrafts over a target for either reconnaissance or to take a ‘target’ out.
We’ve seen what happened in San Bernardino, California, where two rogue terrorists killed over a dozen people. Yes, it was with assault rifles, but what happens if one rouge individual decides to fly a drone, with an explosive device attached to it, over a gas station, parking lot, school, you name it.
I am anti-drone. I believe if used correctly, drones can accommodate us in ways that will drastically make our lives easier. However, drones cross the proverbial ‘gray area’ every time one flies over another person’s property. It’s tough to legislate and keep control of our streets, let alone our skies. Drones open up a Pandora’s Box, and I for one, am not for that box being opened; at least not yet.