Should drones be banned from the skies over Syracuse?

City of Syracuse

A group of peace activists and civil libertarians are calling upon the Syracuse Common Council to declare the skies over the city a "Surveillance Drone Free Zone."

Members of the Syracuse Peace Council appeared before the council's public safety committee Thursday saying that the use of drones or unmanned aircraft by police, Homeland Security or other government agencies could violate privacy laws and the 4th amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

Ann Tiffany testified, "We're talking about a drone up in the sky that can survey large areas. They can look through walls, ceilings, they can identify faces. The technology is very sophisticated and becoming more sophisticated."

Also appearing before the councilors were members of NUAIR. It is a coalition of private businesses, educational institutions and community leaders from upstate New York and the state of Massachusetts. NUAIR is competing against other regions in the nation to be designated as a test site for the development of unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Deb Warner of Centerstate CEO told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "We need to understand that remotely piloted vehicles as an industry is something that is about to explode around the globe. Predictions are in the next 3 years there will be around 70-thousand new jobs in the United States."

Public Safety Committee Chairman Jake Barrett says there is no formal legislation calling for a drone ban at this time. He says councilors will discuss the issue further in future meetings.