Thursday, February 9, 2012

Congress OKs drone flights in US airspace

Source: Press TV

US Congress has passed a bill requiring the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to open the country’s airspace to thousands of drone aircraft within four years, Press TV reports.

According to the plan, which is part of a $63 billion funding package for the FAA, the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will fly beyond solely military airspace and begin to flood domestic US airspace by 2015.

The legislation requires the FAA to provide military, commercial and privately-owned drones with expanded access to US airspace by September 30, 2015.

The FAA has predicted that 30,000 drones could be in US skies by 2020. The bill is the result of an enormous lobbying effort from Washington insiders and the defense industry.

Even though the legislation restricts the use of the drones over populated areas, civil liberties groups are concerned the door into a sacred Constitutional tenant will be opened even wider.

“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” said Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists.

However, many members of Congress who signed the bill don’t see expanded drone use as a problem. They believe the growth of the drone industry will create more jobs for their constituents.

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