Drone controversy surrounds Okla.

Posted on: 12:36 pm, January 21, 2013, by

OKLAHOMA CITY—Hundreds of jobs could be headed to Oklahoma but it’s not without controversy.

Oklahoma is the first state chosen as a testing site for small unmanned aircraft systems, commonly called “drones.”

The robotic aircraft are being tested for search and rescue efforts or to respond to natural disasters, like tornadoes and fires.

Many Oklahomans welcome the chance to add 600 new jobs to the state.

Others are concerned about their privacy being invaded by aircraft that can peek through a window undetected.

Kaye Beach said, “What most citizens are concerned about this are surveillance, tracking and weaponization and rightly so.”

She supports House Bill 1556, which would limit how companies and governmental agencies use drones.

Attorney David Slane said, “There would have to be a warrant. It also requires any incidental surveillance video to be deleted and not be allowed to be used to prosecute people.”

There are also concerns about the possibility of the device being hacked.

At the University of Texas, a team was able to hijack the GPS system and control a test drone.

Slane said, “With these high-powered cameras, they could actually zoom right into your home through an open window or door and I think that’s what everyone needs to be concerned about. We should be happy they are coming but we should encourage the government to establish rules and establish them now.”

The company says it understands the concerns but its mission is to save lives, save money and create jobs.

The economic impact could reach $57 million in three years.