A number of privacy groups have petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the proposed increase in the use of aerial drones in the United States. More than 30 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center — which have also served as key opponents to the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security — have demanded that the FAA hold a rulemaking session to consider all the violations to American privacy and safety posed by the proposal.
The use of drones has already been increasing in the United States. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection is operating nine drone vehicles to monitor the borders. But in 2011, the CBP permitted a local law enforcement unit in North Dakota to use a drone in normal operations. And slowly, law enforcement agencies began to acquire drones for their normal operations, in Florida, South Carolina, Colorado, and New York. Experts are predicting that there may be somewhere near 300,000 new drones launched in the United States within the next decade.
Pressure is reportedly building for drones to be given the same access to the sky as manned aircraft.
“It’s going to be the next big revolution in aviation. It’s coming,” says Dan Elwell, the Aerospace Industries Association’s vice president for civil aviation.