Americans Uneasy About Drones, States Step Up Restrictions

Flying DronePerhaps Hollywood’s selection of science fiction films seems like it has made a significant impression on the minds of the American population, but a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed that people in this country are bracing themselves for some remarkable information technology advancements within the coming decades.

While a share of innovations are still in the theoretical stages of development, others are very much becoming a reality. A number of inventions may have been fascinating propositions when they were merely ideas. However, now that they are coming to fruition, individuals are having reservations. For example, with the emergence of drones, people cannot help but feel nervous, as IT has crossed into a gray zone.

“The American public anticipates that the coming half-century will be a period of profound scientific change, as inventions that were once confined to the realm of science fiction come into common usage,” the Pew report read.

Americans set IT sights high
The research organization asked a group of Americans whether they believed certain IT advancements were possible in the near future, in addition to inquiring how they would feel about those tools being developed. For example, the majority of the public expects that lab-grown organs customized for specific people in need is the most likely to occur within the next 50 years, with 81 percent of individuals believing that this technology is soon to come.

Even though these individuals maintain that the continuous strides made in the world of IT will bring about an array of advancements that were previously only figments of their imagination, they are not necessarily looking forward to these tools. There are various innovations that make Americans uneasy, as people maintain that certain developments would change society for worse – not for better.

The IT advancements about which individuals vary greatly. For instance, 66 percent of those surveyed are opposed to the technology that would let parents-to-be modify the DNA of their future children so that they could have a better genetic makeup. Additionally, 65 percent think that there would be negative consequences if androids were to take the place of primary caregivers of sickly or elderly people.

Of all the IT solutions discussed, the most interesting was drones. This development has already become a reality, causing a significant amount of controversy throughout the U.S. population. According to the Pew poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that if personal or commercial drones were to be allowed to travel through the country’s airspace, there would be repercussions. Thus far, the federal government has authorized people to fly unmanned aerial vehicles.

States move to restrict drones
In spite of the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act, which permits civilians to employ UAVs, individual states are now stepping forward and taking their own precautions to prevent drones from flying through their airspace. Computerworld reported that Louisiana and Pennsylvania are the most recent states to spring into action, taking steps to regulate commercial drone use over certain areas in their jurisdictions.

The source explained that the Louisiana state legislature is working on passing two separate bills that would restrict where these aircrafts could travel for security, defense and even personal privacy. One bill would ban drones from flying over sensitive areas, including chemical and energy plants, oil and gas facilities, water treatment centers and other kinds of critical infrastructure. This way, people would not be able to use UAV to scope out these areas and gain intelligence that would allow them to stage some sort of attack. If this bill were to pass, individuals violating these restrictions would face prison time and fines.

On top of that, the southern state is making a separate effort to ban private drones from taking pictures of people or their property without their consent. With this bill, individuals caught taking or sharing these images would face the same punishment.

At the same time, Pennsylvania policymakers are trying to prevent drones from interfering with their state’s environment and outdoor activities. A share of people want to restrict where UAVs can go so that they do not impede fishing, hunting or boating throughout the area.

Computerworld pointed out that these bills are only the latest of an ongoing trend among state governments, which are trying to regulate drones on their own. By 2014, 16 laws were passed in 13 states, with more to come. is your place on the web for intelligent, issue driven content that helps you develop practical IT solutions and strategy.