FAA approves spy drones to fly US skies
US law enforcement agencies have received the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to use unmanned aircraft known as drones for mass surveillance.
More than 50 non-military organizations within the United States have received approval to fly drones, according to documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act requests by the advocacy group, Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Major agencies like the FBI, the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of Justice had been cleared to launch drones, US President Barack Obama administration’s favorite weapon of war which is being used in countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation civil liberty group warned that the use of drones poses a serious threat to personal privacy.
The documents revealed that individual city police forces are also drawing up plans to use the reconnaissance aircraft.
In February, the US Congress passed a bill which approved the government’s deployment of up to 30,000 spy drones in American airspace by 2020.
The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which President Obama is expected to sign, also ordered the FAA to develop regulations for the testing and licensing of drones by 2015.
According to some estimates, the commercial drone market in the United States will be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Currently almost 50 companies are developing some 150 different drone systems.
The US has been using the unmanned vehicles for its spy operations and assassination missions worldwide and the strikes have intensified since Obama took office three years ago.