recommended reading

Watch a Congressional Candidate Shoot Down a 'Government Drone'

As a "government drone" hovers over Matt Rosendale, the Republican House candidate from Montana tells the camera what he thinks of government overreach, regulation, and "spying on our citizens."

Then, standing in front of an ATV, Rosendale coolly puts a rifle to his shoulder, looks up through the sight and "downs" the drone with a single shot.

"The federal government is too big and too powerful," Rosendale says. "I'm ready to stand tall for freedom and get Washington out of our lives," he says.

Rosendale is trying to stand out in a five-way primary for Montana's at-large seat in the House.

Sporting a barn jacket and a flattop buzz cut, the state senator lowers the rifle and pledges to get the feds off his constituents' backs—or at least not hovering over their heads.

Montana is among the states that prohibit law enforcement from using drones without a warrant. On the federal level, U.S. Customs and Border Protection runs surveillance operations with its nine-drone fleet.

Customs also loaned its drones to other agencies for surveillance missions 700 times over a three-year period, including to state and local departments. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and other advocacy groups have expressed concern that these missions have strayed from the government's border-security directive.

Though it's unlikely the government has sent drones buzzing over Rosendale's property, which is in a small town not particularly close to the Canadian border, he's tapping into the sentiment that helped fuel Sen. Rand Paul's drone filibuster last year.

Paul envisioned a scenario in which the government could use a drone to take out an American "in a cafe in San Francisco" so long as the target was suspected of being a terrorist. The Obama administration responded that Americans not engaged in combat would not be the target of drone strikes on U.S. soil.

Still, some—and not just Republicans—are concerned that the government's growing use of drones could lead to privacy overreaches if not kept in check. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said earlier this year a drone spied into her house and called for guidelines for law-enforcement use of the technology. The ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation are among groups who hope to set strict boundaries for drone use by the government.

Shooting down a drone, however, is illegal, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Here's how the agency responded when a small town in Colorado made it legal to hunt drones: "A [drone] hit by gunfire could crash, causing damage to persons or property on the ground, or it could collide with other objects in the air. Shooting at an unmanned aircraft could result in criminal or civil liability, just as would firing at a manned airplane."

Rosendale isn't the first candidate to send a bullet at a chosen specter of big government. Obamacare and cap-and-trade have previously found themselves in candidates' crosshairs.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.