You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

New program seeks to reach Clark County overdose patients, save lives

Privacy concerns raised as UAVs become more common

Fears of unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with electronic sensors and cameras intruding on personal privacy created turbulence that led the Federal Aviation Administration to postpone plans to test drones in civilian airspace until Congress stepped in and reversed the agency’s course.

But a growing number of states and communities across the nation have introduced legislation to tackle the issue of privacy and UAVs. At least four states have enacted laws and lawmakers in 30 or so have submitted bills for consideration. Some areas require law enforcement agencies to have a warrant to fly a UAV for surveillance.

“The technology is getting to the point where they will be able to conduct surveillance for much longer periods of times at very efficient and cheap cost,” said Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C. “We see drones representing a very unique threat to privacy.”

Advocates for unmanned flight say while privacy should be addressed, the message that UAVs will be the next revolution in flight capable of a wide swath of useful technology in weather forecasting to cargo hauling to search and rescue missions has been lost.

The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International believes UAVs “should be treated like any other system that can take a picture or collect data,” said Ben Gielow, an AUVSI lawyer and government relations manager in Washington, D.C.

“The issue shouldn’t be about the vehicle,” he said. “The issue should be about the data collection.”

Nick Worner, an American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio spokesman, said rules must be in place before drones take flight in civilian air space.

“The chief concern with drones, because of the newness of the technology, is that there are appropriate guidelines and protections in place when these technologies hit the skies,” he said.

In April, the city of Dayton dumped plans to use a manned aircraft for police surveillance after a public outcry despite city leaders creating policies to limit how the technology would be used.

In the midst of the latest debate, states driven by the promise of a future industry bringing jobs and high-tech growth have forged ahead in a fierce contest to land one of six FAA-designated UAV test sites by the end of the year. Ohio and Indiana submitted a joint proposal to the FAA.

Concerned with the public view and media coverage of UAVs, the Aerospace Industries Association released a report late last week hoping to change the way drones are perceived by many familiar with military uses of flying unmanned vehicles, such as finding and killing terrorism suspects.

The Hollywood idea of drones as “hunter-killers,” which influences public perceptions, gives a negative picture of UAVs, an aerospace industry spokesman said.

“That’s not really what unmanned systems are all about,” said Dan Stohr, an AIA spokesman. “There’s a great deal of untapped potential.”

But proponents may have a long way to go to persuade some. Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has gone on record saying private drones pose a privacy threat, according to NBC News.

UAV proponents say people are under surveillance every day. We walk or drive within range of cameras in stores and restaurants, or workplaces, on street corners, when they withdraw money from ATM machines, or when they are near someone with a smart phone with a video recorder.

“While we are here on the ground, we are imaged so many multiple times a day, I think privacy concerns should be lodged in that direction as well,” said Rick Scudder, director of the Center for UAS Exploitation at the University of Dayton Research Institute.

Most UAVs in commercial use won’t be flying to gather personal data on someone, said Donald L. Smith, owner of UAV maker UA Vision in Dayton, who said privacy needs to be addressed, but concerns have been “overblown.”

“If you’re spending $500 to $1,000 an hour to do your jobs, whatever that may be, then your interest in looking at other things is going to be minimal,” he said.

He said legislation in one state to criminalize possession of a UAV with a camera was shortsighted.

“That kind of mindset is kind of scary,” he said. “I think there’s a middle ground somewhere between outlawing them entirely and laissez faire.

“The salient point is not to restrict the gathering of the data,” he said. “It’s to restrict the storage and dissemination of the data.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Military

Mechanicsburg library to honor local veterans
Mechanicsburg library to honor local veterans

The Mechanicsburg Library is collecting photos of veterans with connections to the village. Library director Tammie Beers said they are trying to build the library’s digital image collection and share it with the community. “It’s a way to help build that, and it is a way to encourage people to contribute and honor our veterans,&rdquo...
EXCLUSIVE: Top Air Force general says ‘all programs are at risk’
EXCLUSIVE: Top Air Force general says ‘all programs are at risk’

The absence of a defense budget is the biggest threat the Air Force faces today as it grapples with adversaries and threats around the world, the service branch’s top general says. In an exclusive interview Tuesday with this news outlet, Gen. David L. Goldfein addressed, among other priorities, the consequences a lack of a budget would cause...
Crowds swarm AF museum as B-25s arrive to honor Doolittle Raiders
Crowds swarm AF museum as B-25s arrive to honor Doolittle Raiders

Dennis Greenlee peered through a fence early Monday morning to see wings soar and hear the rumble of 11 B-25 Mitchell bombers land at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to mark the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raiders mission against Japan. “It’s very, very thrilling to me,” said Greenlee, 81, an Army veteran from Gastonia...
Veterans Memorial Park to receive $400,000 upgrade
Veterans Memorial Park to receive $400,000 upgrade

A Clark County park is adding a war memorial area that will feature dedications for every major U.S. war. The National Trail Parks and Recreation District is planning a series of renovations for the Veteran’s Memorial Park and plan to move monuments scattered around the park into a triangular area, running along Buck Creek, which will serve as...
Historic B-25 aircraft fly in to mark 75th anniversary
Historic B-25 aircraft fly in to mark 75th anniversary

The B’s were swarming and buzzing all over the grounds of and skies above Grimes Field on Saturday. Several B-25 Mitchell aircraft flew in from various parts of the country to mark the 75th anniversary of the 1942 Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in World War II. Hundreds of spectators snapped photos, took videos, explored the planes and some paid extra...
More Stories