Lobbyist says drones could have saved lives in standoff with Christopher Dorner
By End the Lie
The chairman of the board of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) said that lives could have been saved if police had used drones in the standoff with ex-police officer and alleged murderer Christopher Dorner.
There has been a large-scale backlash against domestic drone use – something which deeply concerns the pro-drone lobby – including an anti-drone resolution in Charlottesville, Virginia, a potential state-wide moratorium on drone use in Virginia, anti-drone legislation in Florida, a ban on police drones in Seattle along with other legislation nationwide and even potential federal action.
This is the same drone lobby that bragged about their major role in crafting drone legislation in an alleged leaked slideshow last year and in statements to US News, the same tired arguments came up claiming that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no place being concerned with the privacy of Americans.
“Had a [drone] been able to be used in that environment, who knows what could have happened,” said Peter Bale, the chairman of the board for AUVSI, at the AUVSI annual program review in Virginia.
Dorner allegedly shot two police officers, wounding one and killing another before police burned down the cabin, after which charred human remains, believed to be those of Dorner, were reportedly discovered.
According to US News, “Bale said that the Federal Aviation Administration has been pulled into uncharted territory by privacy advocates, which has slowed widespread use of drones,” although over 80 public entities are currently authorized to fly drones in the United States.
“We believe the FAA should focus on their core mission, which is safety,” Bale said.
Further use of drones in the United States has been “delayed many months because the FAA is being pulled into the privacy debate,” Bale said.
While reports over the weekend indicated that drones were being used in the search for Dorner, those reports were later denied by Customs and Border Protection officials and the joint task force refused to comment.
However, Bale said drones should have been utilized, pointing out that surveillance drones were used during the hostage situation last week in Alabama.
“We believe this technology can be used responsibly, in accordance with existing law,” Bale said. “Many people don’t know a [drone] was used during the hostage situation in Alabama last week.”
While Jim Williams, the director of the Unmanned Aerial Systems Integration Office at the FAA, acknowledged that drones can be used beneficially, it is vitally important for the FAA to move slowly in order to assure that all privacy concerns are dealt with.
“The public is concerned, they fear data captured by [drones] could be misused and violate their rights,” Williams said.
“The privacy issue has become so pervasive” has become so pervasive that the FAA simply had to get involved according to Williams.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the privacy issue is going to become less pervasive as even colleges and universities are betting on an ever-increasing use of drones by creating more drone piloting programs to keep up with the domestic drone boom.
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