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Concern Mounts Over Bloomberg’s Remark That Security Drones Are Likely Coming

Predator Drone (credit: General Atomics/Getty Images)

Predator Drone (credit: General Atomics/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some New Yorkers have expressed serious concern after Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s remark that more security cameras, and even spy drones, will soon be chipping away at our personal space.

As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, if it feels like you are constantly being watched, that is because you probably are – at least if you step outside onto city streets.

As it is, cameras are attached to light poles around city streets, in a constant reminder that someone is always watching.

Speaking on his weekly radio program, Bloomberg responded to a question about the possible domestic use of drones by the NYPD or another entity, calling it “scary.”

“Everybody wants their privacy, but I don’t know how you’re going to maintain it,” Bloomberg said. “It’s just we’re going into a different world, uncharted, and, like it or not, what people can do, what governments can do, is different. And you can to some extent control, but you can’t keep the tides from coming in.”

And what the tide may be bringing in is drones – unmanned aircraft that can shoot live video.

“What’s the difference whether the drones up in the air or in the building?” Bloomberg said. “I mean intellectually, I have trouble making a distinction.”

Drones are already in use by law enforcement in other cities. In Poland, a drone was spotted hovering a huge protest recently.

The drones can capture details such as faces and license plate numbers.

Back in Manhattan, the New York Civil Liberties Union has documented nearly 2,400 surveillance cameras, and said the idea of drones is a huge concern.

“It’s disappointing that the mayor shows such disdain for the legitimate concern of New Yorkers about their privacy. None of us expects that we’ll go unseen when we’re out on the street, but we also have the right to expect that the government isn’t making a permanent record,” said Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU.

People around New York are conflicted, with some voicing concern while others saying it was inevitable.

“What can you do? When you go online, Facebook, everybody’s watching you. So what you gonna do, you have no choice,” one man told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria.

“It’s terrible, there’s no privacy,” said one woman.

“I don’t want somebody watching me all the time and that’s very big brother. But at the same time, the way the world is now, it’s a safety issue,” said Gary Timmons, of the West Side.

“There’s a need for them. The world is changing and you have to change with it and protect your citizens,” said Maria Costa of New Jersey.

As it is, the NYPD has integrated its cameras with many private businesses in a program known as the “ring of steel.” So for now, it looks like the only way to stay out of Big Brother’s view is to stay inside.

What do you think about the possibility of security drones over New York City? Please leave your comments below…