(CNSNews.com) – A poll conducted by Monmouth University and cited in a Government Accountability Office report published yesterday indicates that only 15 percent of Americans say they are “not at all concerned” that the use of drones by law enforcement will invade their privacy.
At the same time, 67 percent say they are opposed to police using drones to issue speeding tickets.
The GAO report said that law enforcement agencies are “the greatest potential users” of small drones within the United States.
“Domestically, state and local law enforcement entities represent the greatest potential users of small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] in the near term because they can offer a simple and cost effective solution for airborne law enforcement activities,” said the GAO report.
“For example, federal officials and one airborne law enforcement official said that a small UAS costing between $30,000 and $50,000 is more likely to be purchased by state and local law enforcement entities because the cost is nearly equivalent to that of a patrol car and much less than a manned aircraft,” said GAO. “According to an industry trade group, local law enforcement can potentially choose from about 146 different types of small UAS being manufactured by about 69 different companies in the U.S.”
Noting that some Americans, including members of Congress, had questioned the use of drones for conducting surveillance on Americans within the United States, the GAO report pointed to the results of the Monmouth poll, which had been conducted in June.
“Concerns include the potential for increased amounts of government surveillance using technologies placed on UAS, the collection and use of such data, and potential violations of constitutional Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure,” said GAO. “Additionally, a June 2012 poll conducted by Monmouth University reported that 42 percent of those sampled were very concerned about their own privacy if U.S. law enforcement started using UAS with high tech cameras, while 15 percent said they were not at all concerned.”
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