David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

The Droning of California

Thursday, April 11, 2013
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Corporations in California are at war with us and each other, vying over who will get the first $22 billion drone contract in our state.

Legislator Jeff Gorell, 44th Assembly District, wants to build drones in Oxnard, turning Highway 101 for a 75-miles stretch – from Lancaster (Edwards Air Force Base) to Lompoc (Vandenberg Air Force Base) – into a “technology corridor” for drones. Point Magu Navy Base, designated to assemble the drones, would complete the “military triangle” for drone technology in central California.

Assemblyman Gorell, past naval intelligence officer, manipulating drones over Pakistan, wants to use drones on the American people to “fight crime.” Drones at 5,000 feet, and with infrared cameras, can take detailed photographs on the ground and detect movements within walls or curtained windows. Drones can also be weaponized, with advanced weapons. And reports on the evolving technology have suggested that drones will eventually be reduced to “bug-size,” fitting in the cracks of walls or windows, and entering homes for surveillance purposes.

Gorell wants to secure the profits of the privatized drone industry “project” through tax-free incentives – on the backs of California taxpayers. He baits Californians by promising jobs, but mark my words: The switch is, the jobs will largely go to foreign workers brought in via international visas. Homeland Security and the Defense Department will move into the military triangle once the legislation is passed in Sacramento, undermining the project’s democratic accountability.

Drone technology will, at first, likely target illegal border-crossers and marijuana growers. As the drone industry expands (by “700% in the next few years”) it will likely also spread to other states and impact every American.

What will drone technology mean to the further eradication of American personal freedoms? Could drones possibly lead to the elimination of due process, if Americans are targeted as “terrorists” or “combatants?”

Can we really presume that this marriage of military technology, privatization, and corporate personhood will serve – rather than victimize – the American people?


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Adonis_Tate (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 2:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

see how the ugly marriage of online pseudo-educational technology, privatization, and corporate dominance has helped public education in California? We can do the same with our own golden triangle, oops, I mean military triangle in central California to produce drones for spying on our own proles.
Where are the conservatives and ultra-libertarians on this invasion of privacy issue and personal rights?? Drones ueber alles, eh?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 4:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Even though it's easily circumnavigated with catapults, tunnels, drones, ramps, fat bribes and threats, border security has become a booming sector for the prohibition industrial complex. In 2012 alone, the U.S. government spent $18 billion on border and immigration enforcement agencies, more than on all other federal law enforcement agencies—including the FBI, DEA, etc—combined.

The only people who believe prohibition is working are those making a living by enforcing laws in it's name and those amassing huge fortunes on the black market profits. This situation is wholly unsustainable and as history has shown us, conditions will continue to deteriorate until we finally, just like our forefathers, see sense and revert back to tried and tested methods of regulation. None of these substances, legal or illegal, are ever going to go away but we CAN decide to implement policies that do far more good than harm.

Prohibition causes massive crime and suffering, causes government/police corruption, causes America to have the highest prison population of any country in the history of the planet, causes Americans to lose all their rights and all their true core-values, causes the waste of trillions in taxpayer dollars, causes wars, violence and death, perpetuates racism, and funds both criminals and terrorists.

Prohibition is a dangerous "free-for-all" where much of the profits go to the most dangerous elements in society —politicians and terrorists.

malcolmkyle (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 4:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

All of these things could be done without the use of drones. Many wants to disparage the tool instead of the policy. Their anger and their paranoia are misplaced.

It's ironic that the author on one hand criticizes the importation of LEGAL workers from abroad while on the other hand, criticizes drone usage in protecting the border.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 6:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Many votes against those who promote drones. Will we win? or do we lose.....

spacey (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2013 at 1:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I hope Grant Marcus gives kudos to Assemblyman Jeff Gorell who co-sponsored AB 1327 which protects our privacy from drones.

When will warrants be required?
9 (b) A law enforcement agency may use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, if it has a reasonable expectation that the unmanned aircraft system will collect evidence relating to criminal activity and if it has obtained a warrant based on probable cause pursuant to this code.

When are warrants not required?
9 (c) A law enforcement agency, without obtaining a warrant, may use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, in emergency situations, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage crises, and search and rescue operations on land or water.

AB 1327 also limits private citizens use of drones. Surveillance requires the subject’s permission.
14354. (a) A person or entity, other than a public agency subject to Section 14350 or a person or entity under contract to a public agency, for the purpose of that contract, shall not use an unmanned aircraft system, or contract for the use of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of surveillance of another person without that person’s consent.

I hope we can all agree that our privacy must be preserved. With over 60 countries already building drones, let's not simply put our heads in the sand and think this thing will just go away. Support AB 1327

McCool (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 2:48 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Would you feel better if our privacy were invaded by manned vehicles instead?

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 7:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

but in many other posts, Botany, you've been very concerned about government's intrusions into your personal life-space, e.g. your rants against Prop 30 and local parcel taxes, etc. etc., but here you seem careless of government's intrusion into your don't mind Big Brother WATCHING you as long as gov't leaves your money alone?? Where is your principle?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 8:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You got it all wrong Dan. I'm just unhappy with people that blame the technology and not the policy. Technology always changes. Should we have new rules for every new technology that comes out or have principles that we live by?

Which makes more sense to you?

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 11:01 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Regarding foreign workers with international visas ... I don't see this as a huge issue either way.

Like it or not, we already have large numbers of immigrant engineers and scientists from other countries working here. They are more visible in the commercial tech sectors, but are also in the more traditional mil-aero sectors where being "a US person" (i.e. citizenship or a green card) is often required.

Even with US universities that have great science/engineering programs like UCSB, I don't see this changing much during my career.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Prohibition-Industrial complex.. perfect description and Gorell is a NUT.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 1:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This article perfectly illustrates the Prohibition Industry:

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Drones don't snoop on people, people snoop on people. Drones do not deprive us of civil rights, politicians deprive us of civil rights.
Nope, they don't bother me at all. The Patriot Act is our enemy, not drones.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 4:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Of course the technology exists, we can't unwish it out of existence. But we can get rid of the falsely named "Patriot Act", voters should make it a campaign litmus test in any race.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 5:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Don't blame me, I voted Libertarian.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2013 at 6:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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