In February, President Obama signed a bill requiring the Federal Aviation Administration to accommodate unmanned aerial vehicles in America's civilian airspace. The legislation slipped through without much media notice and certainly with no input from the American people.

I'm glad aerospace manufacturers in Maryland will profit from this emerging new technology, but when I think of 10,000 or more drones soon to be in the air I'm troubled ("Md. sees a future in the rise of unmanned aircraft," Aug. 14).

Drones surely have a value for patrolling our borders, deploying search and rescue operations and for firefighting. But the surveillance aspect of the technology puts me on edge. Do we really want thousands of UAVs, some as small as bugs, patrolling our skies and invading our privacy?

It's preposterous that the American people have been left out of the loop when it comes to drone surveillance and law enforcement applications. It's about time citizens take a hard look at what the future may hold. There is a much needed debate to be held about drone technology and how it is used, and now is the time to begin.

R. N. Ellis, Baltimore