Welcome to the drone era. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration relaxed the rules for deploying unmanned aerial vehicles. 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles — some as small as birds — are expected to be peering down on American soil by the end of the decade.
The American Civil Liberties Union warns that drones may “profoundly change the character of public life,” ushering in an era in which Americans could be monitored every time they step outside. Fences and property lines may no longer serve as barriers to police surveillance — or Peeping Toms. “You want to sunbathe in the nude on your own property?” says Jay Stanley of the ACLU. “Now you can’t be sure nobody is watching you.”
That prospect alarms many people: A recent Rasmussen poll found that more than 50 percent of Americans oppose drones’ use in domestic skies.
The drone over your backyard: A guide