A digital rights advocacy group called the 'Electronic Frontier Foundation' filed a freedom of information act request to get information pertaining to active sites in the United States that have permits to launch Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's). After a hard fought battle, the government was forced to give up the information and it was very surprising.
The vast number (300) of active sites was the most surprising, but not the most telling. What was the most telling was who had the permits. There are defense agencies, defense contractors, universities, and police departments among the permit holders.
This makes sense, they do a lot of research and in turn need to be ably to use the drones for that research. From robotics to better sensor analysis, the colleges and universities do a lot of research into topics that affect the drones.
I have a very hard time with this one. What give a defense agency the right to spy on it's citizens without probable cause? If they have a warrant or a real reason then I'm ok with it, but we all know that is not what is going on.
This is another one that I am ok with. They need to have access to the permits to fly drones because they make the drones. They need to test the things they build because they are expensive items and they are a business. This is part of the business, build drones. Can't build them if they can't test them afterwards.
This is where I have the hardest time buying into what they are trying to sell us. To me this brings us one step closer to CCTV cameras everywhere just like in England. If they only use them for standoffs or raids I am ok with that, but we all know that once the government gets their hands on something, they continually find "justifiable" reasons to grow the program.
None of these drones are armed, and none of them are dangerous to the general public. But questions remain as to why the government would fight hard to keep these places a secret. The answer is really simple in a complex way. The EFF wants things to be open, to keep the government in check, which is actually one of the duties of the citizens as laid out by the constitution. But in doing so, they made public military targets to enemies that wish to harm us. This creates an A-Typical catch-22 situation.