In places such as Kabul, Gaza, and Baghdad, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) hovering over homes, following suspects, and tracking enemies of the state are a daily reality.
So where are the high-tech drones buzzing to next? Miami-Dade County, natch!
The Miami-Dade Police Department is poised to become the first large metro force using drones in its aerial missions. The department finalized a deal to buy a drone called T-Hawk from defense firm Honeywell and officially applied for permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month to begin flying it around the county.
What's not clear is how cops will sort out the raft of thorny privacy questions hovering around plans for using this powerful, new eye in the sky.
"At this point, it doesn't really matter if you're against this technology, because it's coming," says P. W. Singer, author of Wired for War and an expert on drones. "The precedent that is set in Miami could be huge."
Drones, or UAVs, have exploded in popularity over the past five years. As Singer writes in his book, the military barely used the technology during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now the Army and Air Force have more than 7,000 drones overseas, and 44 other countries use the devices.