But for all the cynicism, there were plenty of people cheering the coming Amazon drone army, too. And the funny thing about these boosters: many of them were the same people who’ve been the loudest critics of domestic drone use by the government. People for whom government drones represented the final step on the slippery slope to 1984… but private sector drones? Hell, open the gates and let them swarm! What could go wrong? Just make sure to keep pesky government regulators out of the way!
Eli Dourado, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, which is part of the same sprawling advocacy complex that pushed and backed Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drone filibuster in March, got all mystical as he talked about “the promise” of Amazon’s drone scheme . He also sounded a warning about government intervention, warning that “preemptive rulemaking” would snuff out “private sector innovation.”
Buzz Brockway, a liberty minded Republican State Representative from Georgia who’s at the forefront of the fight to outlaw government drone use in his home state, gave Amazon drones a five star review and warned about regulating drone use. He pointed out that at a recent meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the rightwing legislation mill that’s responsible for churning out “Stand Your Ground” vigilante laws that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s murder, both the Koch-funded Cato Institute and American Civil Liberties Union agreed: government drones are the problem; private sector drones are the solution.
Yep, the ACLU. The civil liberties advocacy group might be at the forefront of the fight to limit and regulate domestic drone use by the government…. but as far Amazon’s private sector drones are concerned? Well, let’s not get too hasty.
In a statement issued a day after Amazon announced its drone program, ACLU vaguely referred to the need for some kind of “solid drone privacy protections” but ultimately said it trusted — or rather, “hoped” — that the company would do the right thing:
“We presume that Amazon is interested in delivery, not surveillance … Let’s hope that the company will see clearly that the fate of this technology is inextricably tied to the privacy questions that surround it, and help us push to lay those questions to rest.”
I mean, geez, there are so many self-regulatory success stories, from food packing salmonella epidemics to market-regulated Uber drivers to the exotic unregulated derivatives that crashed the world economy back in 2007.
You don’t have to look far to see just how spectacularly self-regulation can fail to protect the public’s right to privacy posed by intrusive technologies.
Take Google’s Street View program — perhaps no other recent new tech so clearly demonstrates just how much a threat to our privacy that Amazon’s drone program has the potential to be.
Amazon — like Google — is a company that runs entirely on data. And the danger of Amazon drones is even great than Google’s Street View cars because, well, because they’re in the fuging sky. And yet the ACLU’s position is that government drones are always bad, while free-market drones are probably OK as long as the companies involved promise to behave.
This is not a new position for the ACLU. In 2012, the group criticized Idaho’s anti-drone legislation for heavily regulating private drones, arguing that states should craft drone legislation that is “squarely focused on law enforcement use … and is silent on private use.” In May 2013, ACLU’s legislative counsel Christopher R. Calabrese reiterated his organization’s position against private sector drone regulations. In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Calabrese endorsed proposed legislation that would regulate government drones, while leaving private sector drones almost untouched. Time and time again, the ACLU has argued for passing tough regulations on government drones while leaving the private sector free to self-regulate.
this story cuts through each of the dominant political perspectives here in america, from the actual retarded folks at mercatus to the effete liberals of the ACLU.
it was p concerning to see that amazon propaganda piece on 60 minutes last week and it's even more concerning to watch as the ACLU joins hands with rand fuging paul in (rightly) opposing domestic drone use by the government while (wrongly) assuming that any private entity can be entrusted with p much anything that the government cannot
what say you, dumbass libertarians and milquetoast liberals?