How many drones are in your neighborhood? Drone census aims to find out

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The FAA plans to open up regular U.S. airspace to drones by 2015. Police departments are already allowed to use drones that weigh up to 25 pounds.

 

Photo: Bonny Schoonakker/AFP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who flies the robotic skies? Drones have evolved from the U.S. military’s battlefield scouts into the hottest new gadgets for Homeland Security and local police departments. That growing swarm of flying robots in the U.S. has spawned a new effort to track down drone usage among government entities.

Here is the deal for the 2012 U.S. Drone Census. Anyone can anonymously submit contact information for government entities or institutions suspected of using drones, so that the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MuckRock (a watchdog group that files Freedom of Information requests) can leap into action by filing a public record request. Such efforts could help U.S. citizens find out about neighborhood police departments or local colleges using drones in their proverbial backyard.