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April 23rd, 2012
12:24 PM ET

Rep. Markey: Public debate needed on drone use in U.S.

When most people think of high-tech, unmanned drones, they usually think of the military using them to spy on enemies overseas or carry out attacks.

But the Federal Aviation Administration just released a list of more than 50 domestic institutions across the country that have applied for their own private drone programs. It includes small towns and even universities. The list has some lawmakers worried about privacy.

This week, Congressmen Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tx.), drafted a letter to the FAA chief, saying "The agency has the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that the privacy of individuals is protected and that the public is fully informed about who is using drones in public airspace and why."

This morning on "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien," Rep. Markey explains his concern over the widespread use of drones in the U.S.

"The FAA has already begun the licensing of drones for police agencies, for some other public institutions," he says. "But they are saying they could license upwards of 30,000 drones, public and private, that is commercial as well, in the United States by the year 2020. That is, within eight years, we could have 30,000 of these drones gathering information about Americans flying over the heads of the American people."

"It's un-American for this kind of information to be gathered for commercial purposes without their first being a debate in our country that these eyes in the sky now perhaps the size of the palm of your hand floating over your house are able to gather information that could be used actually in a detrimental way that could harm your family," he adds.

Filed under: Drones • Privacy • Surveillance
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