Although the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been flying drones above U.S. borders for seven years, the drones' current uses, and potential expansion thereof, are now a contentious political issue. Last week, a Navy Global Hawk surveillance drone crashed just off the coast of Maryland. The very next day Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012, which would limit the federal uses of drones within the United States to patrolling borders, preventing "imminent danger to life," and responding to high risk of a terrorist attack. The day after that, a prominent technology blog declared: "Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil."
Can we all take a deep breath?