FAA Bill Opens U.S. Skies for More Drone Aircraft

The newly passed funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration orders the agency to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of commercial drones by 2015.

The directive represents "a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones" in U.S. airspace, says Jennifer Lynch of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Local law-enforcement agencies around the country have begun to employ drone aircraft (see Sunshine State News story here).

With the new rules in force, the FAA estimates that 30,000 drones could be in the nation’s skies by 2020.

The FAA legislation, which President Obama is expected to sign, orders the agency by year-end to expedite and expand its approval process for drones by federal, state and local police and other agencies. The FAA currently issues certificates on a case-by-case basis.

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John Connor
10:16AM FEB 9TH 2012
"With the new rules in force, the FAA estimates that 30,000 drones could be in the nation’s skies by 2020."
Get out of the way General Aviation, SkyNet's comming!
10:01AM FEB 9TH 2012

Perhaps emboldened by the impotence of the ACLU, BORDC, Center for Constitutional Rights, "Oath Keepers" and other toothless rights watchdogs, as well as the inability of the Occupy Movement to break through the corporate-controlled mainstream media blackout of efforts to "Undo NDAA", yesterday H.R.658 - euphemistically entitled the "FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act" - sailed through the U.S. Senate (75-20-5) and is now headed to the White House where our corporate fascist puppet President Barack Obama is expected to swiftly sign it into law:


As were Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 - which despite Obama's signing statement and other claims to the contrary do in fact codify the indefinite detention without charge or trial of American citizens on American soil - tucked neatly away in H.R.658 (and likely never read by most of our lobbified legislators) is Section 320, officially summarized as follows:

"Requires the FAA Administrator to: (1) develop plans to accelerate the integration of unmanned aerial systems [drones] into the National Airspace System, and (2) report to Congress on progress made in establishing special use airspace for the DOD to develop detection techniques for small unmanned aerial vehicles and to validate sensor integration and operation of unmanned aerial systems. Directs the DOD Secretary to establish a process to develop certification and flight standards for military unmanned aerial systems at specified test sites."

With that exposed, a more fitting mo[filtered word]r for H.R.658 might be the "Skynet Surveillance Enabling Act of 2012". According to USA Today, "Drones, perhaps best known for their combat missions in Afghanistan, are increasingly looking to share room in U.S. skies with passenger planes... Now, organizations from police forces searching for missing persons to academic researchers counting seals on the polar ice cap [are] eager to launch drones." In more specific and less candy-coated terms, once the Wide Area Aerial Surveillance System - or WAASS (think Skynet) - drone surveillance network enabled by H.R.658 is in place, privacy in real as well as virtual space will become a thing of the past as Big Brother will be able to spy on just about anyone doing just about anything just about anywhere in the United States or elsewhere. As the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) stated:

"The primary objective of WAASS is to provide persistent, long-term surveillance over urban and rural terrain at least the size of 16 km2. The surveillance system shall have an electro-optical capability for daylight missions but can have an infrared capability for day or night operations. The sensor shall integrate with an airborne platform for data gathering. The imagery data shall be displayed at a DHS operations center and have the capability for forensic analysis within 36 hours of the flight."


And as we previously reported, "Skynet" citizen surveillance has already begun:


Welcome to 1984...


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