For the last several months, civil libertarians have watched deadly, unmanned flying drones circle Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen with their unblinking eyes and constantly cocked ears.
What happens, they’ve worried, once that technology follows the U.S. military home?
Last week, farming websites in Iowa and Nebraska were scorched by rumors that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had launched drones over local cattle herds. As things turned out, the surveillance – the EPA was looking for evidence of large deposits of manure entering the water supply – was of the manned Cessna variety.
But it was during this Midwestern uproar that U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, a Republican who represents a large swath of South Georgia farmland, dropped the first piece of legislation designed to restrict the use of government-operated drones over American