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Letter: Privacy and civilian drone use

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night (Jan. 31, 2010) Credit: AP

It is incredible that a director of a college aviation program can ask for support for civilian drones without calling for a careful review of all the constitutionally guaranteed rights of personal privacy and the ability to be free from pervasive technological surveillance .

No mention is made of the need to set careful limits on the use of such technology by our police and military agencies internationally and here in the United States.

In legislation he recently introduced, State Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) accurately states that the speedy implementation of drone technology throughout the United States, in the absence of any guidelines, poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people. His bill, sponsored in the Assembly by Nick Perry (D-Brooklyn), would set limits on drones used by law enforcement and other government agencies, including audio and visual recordings and home-penetrating infrared surveillance. This proposed law is based on preserving our cherished expectation of personal privacy.

We all need to wake up and see the pernicious and dehumanizing erosion of our rights through technological surveillance for what it is. We can respond by supporting this legislation.

Charles A. Perretti, Setauket