The Common Good

DRONE WATCH: Domestic Use of Drones? Bad Idea

USA Today has a weekly opinion column featuring Cal Thomas, a conservative columnist, and Bob Beckel, a liberal Democratic strategist. As longtime friends, they can often find common ground on issues that lawmakers in Washington cannot. This week’s dialogue was on the domestic use of drones.

"Cal: Do we want our government collecting a constant stream of information on our whereabouts? Drones equipped with Tasers and beanbag guns could fly over political demonstrations, sporting events and concert arenas. The ability of these machines to collect information is almost unlimited — and if we allow it to happen, we will have accepted the Orwellian vision of Big Brother. Trying to recover liberties after losing them is like trying to regain your lost virginity.

Bob: In fact, drones have already been deployed to assist local police departments, which on its face may seem like a good idea. But local police don't control the drones; that's done by trained drone pilots in the U.S. military. So police departments may request assistance on a local crime issue, but who knows what other information is being collected by the U.S. government while the drone is flying over a particular area? On the subject of using drones for domestic purposes, Cal, we have found complete common ground."