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Before Your Eyes
Image: Lady-Bug/flickr

In a major step toward opening U.S. skies to thousands of unmanned drones, federal officials Thursday solicited proposals to create six drone test sites around the country.

The Federal Aviation Administration also posted online a draft plan for protecting people’s privacy from the eyes in the sky. The plan would require each test site to follow federal and state laws and make a privacy policy publicly available.

Privacy advocates worry that a proliferation of drones will lead to a “surveillance society” in which the movements of Americans are routinely monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.

The military has come to rely heavily on drones overseas. Now there is tremendous demand to use drones in the U.S. for all kinds of tasks that are too dirty, dull or dangerous for manned aircraft. Drones, which range from the size of a hummingbird to the high-flying Globalhawks that weigh about 15,000 pounds without fuel, also are often cheaper than manned aircraft. The biggest market is expected to be state and local police departments.

Source: Joan Lowy for the Associated Press via The Elkhart Truth

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