Upstate New York winning a civilian drone testing site from the Federal Aviation Administration is a step in the wrong direction for the Syracuse Peace Council. The anti-drone activists are trying to shutdown military drone activity in the region.
On Monday, New York won one of six coveted commercial drone test sites from the FAA. On Friday, Ed Kinane and other peace activists will be a court over their protests against military drones.
Ed Kinane, of the Syracuse Peace Council, says he worries that civilian drone technology developed here will transfer into military applications.
"As the communications industry and as academia gets deeper and deeper into the gravy train of this industry, I’m weary of how well they will police themselves and get just sucked in by the gravy train," he said.
And he questions how privacy rights of New Yorkers will be protected during drone testing.
"How do I know that drone in the sky isn’t just Amazon.com delivering a book when it may well be surveilling," he said.
Kinane and a dozen other activists were arrested at a protest outside Syracuse’s Air National Guard base in October 2012. The 174th Attack Wing of the guard operates Reaper drones for missions overseas from Syracuse.
The Peace Council successfully pushed a resolution through the Syracuse Common Council last year to bar city law enforcement use of drones.