Drones At Next Year’s Boston Marathon? Official Says It’s ‘A Great Idea’

The best way to make sure the Boston Marathon goes off without a hitch next year is to have unmanned drones flying around in the air, according to the city’s police commissioner, Ed Davis.

Davis told the Boston Herald that using the controversial aerial surveillance devices during the 2014 race is “a great idea.”

“I don’t know that would be the first place I’d invest money, but certainly to cover an event like this, and have an eye in the sky that would be much cheaper to run than a helicopter is a really good idea,” he said.

In an editorial on Friday, the Heraldpraised the idea, saying that unmanned drones might be the most “useful tool” available to law enforcement right now.

“Surveillance drones can be a useful tool for law enforcement, and like it or not they’re coming to a city near you. It is important that their use be restrained, with proper oversight to prevent abuse. But in an emergency situation, there may be no more useful tool.”

But many groups are still skeptical, if not in outright opposition of, increasing drone use in America. The American Civil Liberties Union argues that any domestic use of drone technology will lead to more widespread implementation, primarily because the tech is relatively inexpensive.

The Guardian‘s Glenn Greenwald agreed, writing:

“The fact is that drones vest vast new powers that police helicopters and existing weapons do not vest: and that’s true not just for weaponization but for surveillance. Drones enable a Surveillance State unlike anything we’ve seen. Because small drones are so much cheaper than police helicopters, many more of them can be deployed at once, ensuring far greater surveillance over a much larger area. Their small size and stealth capability means they can hover without any detection, and they can remain in the air for far longer than police helicopters.”

What do you think? Should drones be used for events like the Boston Marathon, or is domestic drone use a slippery slope into a Surveillance State?

[Image via: F.Schmidt, Shutterstock.com]