Victory against drones in Julian California!

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On December 30, 2013 an important victory was won in San Diego, California in the fight against drone proliferation when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) dropped the county from consideration as a drone-testing site.

The news comes after a hard-fought grassroots campaign organized by Back Country Voices, a group of concerned county residents based in Julian, California. From their press release:

“The introduction of drones by the FAA into the national airspace creates “unavoidable privacy concerns, which the FAA is required to address,” she noted.  “This fight is far from over but it does give us a little breathing room to get legislation passed before drones are fully integrated throughout the U.S.” The group plans a celebration Saturday at Wynola Pizza.

Dave Patterson with San Diego Veterans for Peace also hailed the decision. “Currently there is no judicial oversight regarding the use of drone technology or the sensor information collected by drones,” he noted. “The prospect of our skies being opened to thousands of drones exacerbates that problem. Drones in our skies present a threat to our privacy, a risk from fire and provide a vehicle for the government’s surveillance programs that the residents of Southern California do not need.” 

The threat of drone proliferation is a civil liberties issue that crosses party lines.

From CBS Los Angeles:

“The growing drone industry has critics among conservatives and liberals, including those who fear the technology could be used for surveillance on U.S. citizens without their knowledge.

Giving drones greater access to U.S. skies moves the nation closer to “a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities,” the American Civil Liberties Union declared in a report last December.”

San Diego Veterans For Peace, who have been central leaders in the fight against drone proliferation in San Diego, are planning a victory celebration with a protest outside General Atomics, a drone manufacturer, in Poway at Stowe Drive and Scripps Poway Parkway on Thursday at 3:30 p.m in San Diego.

In November, BORDC Legal Fellow Matthew Kellegrew gave a talk in Julian hosted by Back Country Voices on ways local communities can fight drones using creative legal tactics and grassroots actions.

Back Country Voice’s victory against the drone manufacturers who spent untold amounts of money lobbying the FAA to host the testing site in San Diego County is a powerful demonstration of what can happen when people from the grassroots put their heads together, get creative and get active. If the FAA is considering making your county a drone-testing site, contact BORDC to start building a strong opposition!

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