Four-year-old August Weaver, ace cub
reporter, can already fly a Hur Herald drone
PRIVACY RIGHTS STILL IN FLUX
By Bob Weaver 4/2014
Drones are becoming a part of America's 21st Century homeland protection and surveillance, and could even be used to deliver pizza and packages.
A drone could be a real asset for the Hur Herald.
See WARNING: THE GOLDEN AGE OF SURVEILLANCE - Homeland Snooping, America Doesn't Mind
No more jumping in the car on snow-covered days, traveling on crooked, pot-holed highways to cover or photograph a breaking news story.
Just think how much money a drone could save, all that gasoline and wear and tear on a car.
If the Herald actually had a paid staffer doing the work, we could fire them.
Actually, the Herald already has a small drone, a gift after we "lectured" on the subject at Davis-Elkins College. If it was a little bigger, we could attach a camera.
A drone is being used by a southern West Virginia realtor to help sell property, and they are readily available (with camera) on-line.
Laws over drone regulation are in conflict and flux around America, while the US government is wisely using them, not to be confused that America citizens are already being monitored around the clock by the NSA.
The Hur Herald drone could be in trouble, since a bill was introduced in the West Virginia legislature that would regulate the use of unmanned drones to protect the privacy rights of citizens.
The Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act was introduced by Joshua Nelson (R-Boone) stating that "a law-enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather evidence or other information" unless a proper search warrant has been issued and that "no drone operated within the State of West Virginia may carry a lethal payload."
The bill has not passed.
The bill did allow for drones to be used in special circumstances determined by the Department of Homeland Security to protect the homeland.
Most West Virginians, while obsessed with the Second Amendment gun rights, have shown little outrage about the violation of their Fourth Amendment rights to privacy.
As it stands now, law enforcement can use drones in West Virginia with absolutely no restrictions.
Jimmy Gianato, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for the State of West Virginia, in answering a public information request from the Hur Herald, responded, "We have no drones, not plans to acquire any."
The US Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so they can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, represent more unconstitutional expansion of power over civilian privacy.
The WV State Police, following a Freedom of Information request in 2013, regrading plans for using drones, responded they are not in possession of any documents related to drones, and that the agency "is not in possession of nor does it use aerial drones."
The federal government likes drones in the skies peering down, and it is estimated that 30,000 drones could be in the air by 2020.
Tenth Amendment Center's executive director Michael Boldin said, "The feds want to push these (drone use) on the states, and if the states refuse, it'll foil their plan," he said.
"They already spy on Americans so much that Rand Paul said it numbered in the 'Gazillions'. If the feds can get the states to start buying up and running drones, they'll certainly want access to all that surveillance information in the future.
It's important that states begin drawing a line in the sand now - no aerial spying here," Boldin said.
Yes, but what about a Hur Herald drone? We would place a small American flag on the drone since we're one of the "good guys," and hope that Calhoun residents would not shoot it down.
But to be fair, if a drone flies by house, I would have the urge to exercise my Second Amendment rights.
With another troublesome technology advancement, Physicist Stephen Hawking, along with hundreds of artificial intelligence researchers and experts, are calling for a worldwide ban on so-called autonomous weapons, warning that they could set off a revolution in weaponry comparable to gunpowder and nuclear arms.
Hawking, this year, has expressed grave concern about artificial intelligence, its effect on humankind.