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Mayor Bloomberg says surveillance drones are inevitable in NYC: 'get used to it'

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MQ-9 Reaper Drone (Credit: Lance Cheung / USAF)
MQ-9 Reaper Drone (Credit: Lance Cheung / USAF)

Governmental use of unmanned surveillance drones has inspired a lot of concern about privacy, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks the battle's already over. In a radio interview this week, Bloomberg said essentially that drones are an inevitable part of our future (and maybe our present), comparing them to the thousands of cameras already located around Manhattan. "What's the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?" he asked. "We're going into a different world, uncharted... you can't keep the tide from coming in."

"It's not a question of whether it's good or bad. I just don't see how you can stop them."

Striking a tone more of resignation than endorsement, Bloomberg said that our future includes more visibility and less privacy. Face recognition will be integrated into the drone surveillance, and he wondered aloud whether a drone is that much more invasive than someone standing outside your home. Bloomberg did say legislation is necessary, but warned against hasty action, saying "these are long-term, serious problems."