New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg considers the domestic use of military drones “scary” but says that there is no way to stop it.
“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. “It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”
In September a Congressional Research report stated that domestic drones may be able to bypass constitutional privacy safeguards because of their high level of sophistication.
At least 81 entities, including 17 police departments, have applied for permission to fly drones in U.S. airspace.
But the mayor seems to be referring to something more omnipresent, like having drones with ARGUS technology flying 17,500 feet above the Big Apple while transmitting high resolution images of people.
“There’ll be cameras every place” within five years, Bloomberg estimated. “We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I just don’t see how you could stop that.”
The mayor figures that if the city already has security cameras in strategic places around the city — 2,400 in Manhattan alone as of 1998 — then drones aren’t any different.
“It’s scary. What’s the difference whether the drones up in the air or in the building?” Bloomberg said. “I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction. And you know you’re going to have face recognition software.”
“It’s disappointing that the mayor shows such disdain for the legitimate concern of New Yorkers about their privacy,” she said. “None of us expects that we’ll go unseen when we’re out on the street, but we also have the right to expect that the government isn’t making a permanent record.“
Here the CBS news report with Bloomberg’s remarks:
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