Less than a week after the tragedies at the Boston Marathon and the city-wide lockdown in search of terror suspects, the nation's largest manufacturer of drones used the situation as a sales pitch!

Michael Toscano, president of the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, told U.S. News and World Report:

 

UAS could be an important tool in the tool kit for first responders in the event of an emergency. Whether it is in response to a natural disaster or a tragedy like we saw in Boston, UAS can be quickly deployed to provide first responders with critical situational awareness in areas too dangerous or difficult for manned aircraft to reach. Our industry is working to develop technologies to provide first responders with the best tools possible to do their jobs safely as they work to protect our communities."

Critics have been skeptical of the proposed use of drones for surveillance by police and other authorities, especially after the FAA began to authorize their use. Congress has tasked the FAA with writing regulations on non-military (civil) use of the unmanned vehicles. FAA estimates some 10,000 could be airborne by 2020.

While drone use has stepped up since 2010, even the Seattle Police Department tested one. FAA has granted some 1,428 since 2007 -- far more than the government initially let on. Some 327 are still listed as active.

Groups such as the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and others are against widespread drone use by authorities and private groups, fearing the privacy and civil rights of Americans will be infringed upon.