(NaturalNews) Amid dubious government claims that the jobless rate is falling, some are actually suggesting that one way out of our dismal economy is to build more devices to keep an eye on us, namely drones.
One recent headline actually read, "UAV's Could Boost U.S. Economy," then went on to point out that the U.S. is expected to capture 62 percent of the drone market in the coming years - which would generate an estimated $86 billion in annual revenue.
Now, don't get us wrong here, that's a lot of money. But in an economy that totals about $15.5 trillion a year, that's a drop in the bucket, seriously.
Is that what our privacy is worth, now - $86 billion?
It's the economy, stupid - not your Bill of Rights
It is a question that is clearly not on the mind of Gary Brecka, Executive Director of United Drones in Naples, Fla. He is eagerly awaiting the issuance of congressionally approved guidelines by the Federal Aviation Administration that will permit widespread use of drones in U.S. skies by federal and local authorities, among others.
"Drones are mystical to a lot of people, but I think in the next few years, it will be common place. So everybody will be talking about a drone like they're talking about a computer today," a near-giddy Brecka told WINK, Naples' local CBS affiliate.
After all, it's all about jobs and the economy - right?
"The employment opportunity here will be in the hundreds. We will be hiring as fast as we can find them, contract permitting. We are in negotiations on several contracts," Brecka said.
Worse, there are actually groups out there promoting more and more surveillance.
One is the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a non-profit group devoted to advancing unmanned systems, WINK reported.
That group, too, is focused like a laser beam on what it means for the nation's bottom line - not the hit the Constitution - what's left of it - will take.
"We see tens of thousands of high-paying jobs coming into this field over the next decade," a spokesman for the group, Ben Gielow, said.
"The United States is currently the leader in unmanned systems, but the rest of the world is also developing this technology," he added. "...If the U.S. doesn't figure out how to safely integrate these things into the airspace, a lot of manufacturers based in the United States might move to other countries."
The effort to boost use of drones domestically actually began in earnest a few years ago with an initiative launched by the Department of Homeland Security to test the efficacy of the unmanned aircraft in a domestic capacity.
In 2010, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department conducted a test in conjunction with DHS officials who used a drone to locate a device the size of a pack of cigarettes that was emitting a safe pulse of low-grade radiation that was hidden on a chaparral-covered hillside 40 miles north of the city, the Los Angeles Times reported recently.
Since then, DHS has awarded millions in grants to at least 13 police and fire departments in larger cities to use the drones, but federal aviation restrictions, along with the difficulty in actually deploying the drones, has largely kept the project on the ground.
'Concerns of our citizens'
That's all set to change; however, as the FAA is expected to ease U.S. airspace restrictions by 2015.
Privacy advocates are understandably worries.
"This is putting the cart before the horse where DHS and other federal agencies are looking to put money toward drone use without looking at what it means for privacy and civil liberties," Jennifer Lynch, an attorney for EFF, told the Times.
If there is any good news here - and there isn't much - at least a few lawmakers have begun to beat the same privacy drum.
"DHS seems either disinterested or unprepared to step up to the plate to address the proliferation of drones, the potential threats they pose to our national security, and the concerns of our citizens of how drones flying over our cities will be used, including protecting civil liberties of individuals under the Constitution," Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told the paper after DHS refused to send an official to an oversight hearing he had called regarding domestic use of drones.
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