Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) introduced the “Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” (PFUSA), which is aimed at limiting the government’s ability to conduct random, warrantless surveillance inside the United States with drone technology.
Speaking on CNN, Sen. Paul said the bill would require the government to obtain a warrant before using surveillance drones, except in cases of surveillance along the border or in cases of “terrorism.” Paul added that the bill only applied in the United States itself, and did not effect the ongoing US drone strikes across the world.
The exceptions are fairly broad, and essentially allow the DHS to overrule the need for a warrant whenever they think there is a “high risk” of a terrorist attack. Still the bill is the first attempt to limit drone activity inside the United States.
But a new map of military drone bases inside the United States suggest this effort might be too little, and much, much too late. With 64 military drone bases already in the US and countless other bases run by state and local police, drones have already found their way into everyday American life, even if the everyday American hasn’t looked up at the sky and noticed yet. Whether the PFUSA can do anything to put this genie back in the bottle is unclear, but if nothing else it may draw some attention to the issue.