Will Drones Soon Be Flying Over New Jersey? [AUDIO]
For years, the U.S. military has been using drones in Afghanistan to monitor suspicious activity and hunt down terrorists, but soon the unmanned aerial robots could flying the friendly skies above New Jersey.
Starting in 2015, the federal government could begin handing out hundreds – and perhaps even thousands of permits for drones to be used for a variety of different activities in the Garden State and across the nation.
“Drones can be helpful to law enforcement, however balancing privacy is a big issue because who’s going to police those drones? They can be taking pictures, they can be taping your conversations,” says New Jersey Assemblywoman and Homeland Security Committee Chair Annette Quijano.
She’s crafting legislation that would prohibit the police use of drones, but would allow the federal government to deploy them in declared emergencies like a suspected terror attack or a natural disaster, such as Superstorm Sandy.
“It’s something that we have to start talking about and I plan to hold committee hearings to actually fully discuss the issue,” says Quijano. “The question is who watches the people watching you? And so that’s why it’s important to have this discussion now before the permits are given.”
She’s also encouraging all New Jersey residents to contact their local legislators to express how they feel about drones now, so legislation can be crafted that reflects the will of the people.
“Whatever we decide,” she says, “we have to make sure we have a system of checks and balances.”