Drone Task Force Focusing On Safety And Privacy

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By Alabama News Network

Drones could be filling the skies of Alabama, putting cameras in the skies.

 
Governor Robert Bentley has created a task force to look into the new technology, but some are concerned. 
 
Privacy is definitely a big concern for people when it comes to these flying cameras. 
 
But that's part of the reason for this new task force. 
 
This may be what you think of when you hear the word drone.
 
The military Predator drone are eyes in the sky are used for reconnaissance around the world.
 
But there are plenty of drones you can buy in stores right here in Alabama, and the state wants to utilize them. 
 
Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy sits on the new task force.
 
He says as agencies across the state are getting cut, he wants drones to help fill in the gaps. 
 
"The governor has looked at and we've been trying to streamline our agencies to be more cost effective. When you lose people, you look to technology to try to replace that for a lesser cost," says Guy. 
 
Some in Montgomery have mixed opinions about government drones over their state. 
 
"In one way it would be good because you know, you might can stop a lot of crimes, find out about a lot of things, help out a lot of things that's going on that shouldn't be going on. In another way it might invade someone's privacy. Some people might not want to see everything they're doing," said Charles Bates.
 
"Well, it don't bother me in any way because I don't have anything to hide. It's cool," said James Lassic.
 
Drones are being used in other states to help fight forest fires as well as help law enforcement. 
The task force is made up of members from homeland security to agriculture. 
 
Commissioner Guy says protecting citizen's privacy is an important job for the task force. 
 
"I don't think anybody on the task force's idea is that we want to use it for something illegal first, but we also want to consider those interests that you just mentioned about protection of privacy because for all the good things that technology brings about, there's always some that use it for bad consequences," said Guy.
 
The first meeting of the drone task force will be this Friday. 
 
The governor wants a plan for drones in our airspace by January. 

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