National Poll finds over three quarters of Americans are concerned about government spy drones
Aug 8, 2012
A group of activists in Buffalo, New York are pushing local officials to ban the use of unmanned surveillance drones over the city and set a precedent that the rest of the country can follow.
Last week saw the Common Council Legislation Committee of Buffalo hold a public hearing on the use of the aerial vehicles.
Activists from Occupy Buffalo and the Western New York Peace Center attended the meeting and addressed the committee, urging them to prohibit government and law enforcement use of drones.
“You guys have an opportunity to make Buffalo the first drone-free city in the United States, and I hope you take that seriously,” John Washington of Occupy Buffalo told lawmakers.
“Drone manufacturers will push this hard on you and other elected officials, They will say that one of the reasons [for drones] is fighting crime,” said Charles Bowman of the Western New York Peace Center.
“We don’t need drones in the City of Buffalo. We don’t need further militarization of our police department,” he added.
Buffalo News.com notes that the activists have submitted legislation to the council that would ban city officials from purchasing, leasing, borrowing, testing or deploying drones on the grounds that they are a threat to the public and violate constitutional rights.
“Drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground … due to limitations in drone vision, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control,” the legislation states, highlighting the fact that drones are not currently allowed to fly in U.S. airspace without an FAA permit because they don’t have the technology to prevent mid-air collisions.
“Armed drones and surveillance drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process …” the legislation also notes.
The activists continued their case outside City Hall by handing out flyers, and displaying a scale model of a predator drone (pictured above) while reading facts about the technology over a loud speaker to passers by.
The WNY Peace Center says that two council members have said informally that they will support a vote on the issue when the Common Council returns to session in September.
The activists are urging concerned citizens to contact the Mayor and Buffalo Common Council members and demand that they ban drones from the city.
The contact numbers and emails below for the Mayor’s office were provided by the activists:
Byron Brown – Mayor, Room 201. Phone: (716) 851-4841, E-mail: Mayor@city-buffalo.com
Richard A. Fontana – Council President. Phone: 716-851-5151, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
David A. Franczyk. Phone: 716-851-4138, E-mail: email@example.com
Darius G. Pridgen. Phone: 716-851-4980, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Christopher P. Scanlon. Phone: 716-851-5169, E-mail: email@example.com
Michael J. LoCurto. Phone: 716-851-5155, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bonnie E. Russell. Phone: 716-851-5165, Email: email@example.com
Demone A. Smith – Majority Leader. Phone: 716-851-5145, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Golombek, Jr. Phone: 716-851-5116, Email: email@example.com
David A. Rivera. Phone: 716-851-5125, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week, the acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration told crowds gathered at the nation’s largest robotics conference that regulations are now being drawn up ahead of the deployment of thousands of unmanned drones in US skies.
FAA head Michael Huerta said that over the next three years drones will begin rolling out, adding that “building human consensus … is an equally important task and unbelievably complicated.”
An IBOPE Inteligencia poll released this week found that three quarters of U.S. residents surveyed said they were concerned or very concerned about government using drone aircraft to monitor Americans.
According to the poll, just 25% of adults believe unmanned drones within US airspace are positive, while 60% say the move is negative. A total of 77% are either very concerned (39%) or somewhat concerned (38%) about government monitoring of US citizens, while 20% are either not at all concerned (9%) or somewhat unconcerned (11%). Nearly two-thirds (63%) oppose domestic use of drones as a crime prevention tool.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.