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Should government be able to monitor from drone aircraft?

Staff Report • Jun 27, 2012 at 8:59 AM

The Associated Press reported last week that a growing number of Americans are becoming concerned that unmanned aircraft could soon be spying on their neighborhoods. The thought that government drones could be keeping a watch over their daily activities have some people worried about “Big Brother” government intruding into their private affairs.

Freshman Congressman Jeff Landry, R-La., said his constituents are terrified by such a possibility.

“There is a distrust amongst the people who have come and discussed this issue with me about our government,” Landry said. “It’s raising an alarm with the American public.”

This alarm is being sounded in the conservative blogosphere, where a recent headline proclaimed “30,000 Armed Drones to be Used Against Americans.” More headlines followed when Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, told a Washington radio station in May that he thinks drones should be used by police on domestic soil since they’ve done such a good job on foreign battlefields.

NetRightDaily responded: “This seems like something a fascist would do. ... McDonnell isn’t pro-Big Government, he is pro-HUGE Government.”

Both liberal and conservative civil liberties advocates say they see major problems with using drones against American citizens.

“America is not a battlefield, and the citizens of this nation are not insurgents in need of vanquishing,” said John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute of Charlottesville, Va., which provides legal assistance in support of conservative causes.

And the American Civil Liberties Union warned in a report it released in December that giving drones greater access to U.S. skies moves this country closer to “a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities.”

Tell us what you think of surveillance drones being used over domestic air space. Should the government or law enforcement agencies be able to monitor your neighborhood from the air?

Send your comments to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717, or mailbag@johnsoncitypress.com. Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. We will print your responses on the Opinion pages in the coming weeks.

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