Drone Ops to soon invade your airspace and change the meaning of privacy in America

Private drones are coming to your airspace

We are on the verge of a whole new level of overhead mapping, or snooping, if you will. Your space/yard/property, usually defined in 2-dimensions, will morph into a 3-D space extending overhead to 400 feet. Enforceable? A no-fly zone? It will be redefined while at the same time the low-level surveillance technology, evolved from toys and modelers, tries to detour around the traditions and non-existent-to-murky law on aerial privacy. Right now, public dissemination of details from your backyard gathered by present UAV operators like the Border Patrol or Police Departments is still more or less subject to regulation. But being debated as we speak are levels of privacy protection to be expected from the new private operators. Masses of new information will be flowing into the national information space. Who owns it? How will we curate it for relevant information? What IS relevant information? As random and anonymous controllers in the private and business sector gain power and numbers, huge privacy issues are arising that need to be intelligently settled so legitimate privacy concerns of citizens are respected. Or not.

The hardware: here’s what’s ready to lift off now: toy-level machines to sophisticated multi-rotor craft used by realtors in the low-level FAA defined area of 400 feet ceiling or less. Cameras (video, still, and infra-red) are available. This is the tip of the iceberg as an industry is poised to take off with UAVs of every size, complexity, and price.

This first two are fun toys. Fun tip, drives cats nuts.

$39.99 RC Helicopter Radio Shack

$39.99 RC Helicopter Radio Shack

Female friends call this creepy. And don’t try the face-to-face with the neighbor kid.


3 responses to “Drone Ops to soon invade your airspace and change the meaning of privacy in America

  1. Blue Devil is a game-changer with such dramatic cost savings that it creates LEMV and WAAPS capacity that has been previously cost prohibitive. He is absolutely right that a working Blue devil will be beyond the reach of small arms fire and safe from virtually any threat without a technically advanced air force i.e. China, Russia etc. . Like the TARS system along the US southern border, aerostats are already used primarily in uncontested airspace.

    With the recent FAA approval of domestic drone use over the USA, Homeland Security and local police utilizing FLIR enabled drones for day-to-day law enforcement (arresting cattle ranchers, etc) and conducting warrantless thermal/IR/sensor searches of private property, serious civil rights issues are raised by domestic use of wide-area-persistent-surveillance systems. The specter of Blue Devil class drone blimps utilizing military SIGINT and ARGUS technology over US cities is hardly far-fetched, as the migration of military tech towards police-tech is observable in the examples above, as well as in multiple other signs of military urbanism.

    In Utah, a police drone blimp has already conducted domestic surveillance with the specific intent of chilling the behavior of witnesses on the ground, with the mayor commenting on how “people behave differently when they know they are being watched.” A city volunteer who watches security feeds (not vetted law-enforcement) recently commented how the Sandy City, Utah urban surveillance camera network, which views over 25% of all public spaces, is intended to eliminate citizens “amnomimnity”. The volunteer went on to cheer as a local skater was arrested for sneaking a beer into a water bottle. Now local police will be using military iris scanners and face recognition technology to ID US citizens. Local police are already discussing armed drones.

    The idea of a gigantic spy blimp over the USA that never blinks and is capable of watching an entire city, recording it, rewinding video in order to trace individuals, track behavior and record the free movement of a democratic society, suggests a serious chilling effect to political speech, activism, protests and freedom of assembly in the United States. The ARGUS, GORGON STARE and ANGELFIRE systems, as well as Blue Devil and WAAPS systems in general, are extremely volatile tools that need to be kept strictly in a non-Homeland Security, non-domestic, non-police arena for exclusive use OUTSIDE the USA. These technologies turned towards domestic security or police actions are an existential threat to personal liberty and a democratic society.

    Long endurance persistent surveillance drones have no place over the USA. The experience thus far of any country to allow drones to operate in its airspace has been overwhelmingly negative. Surveillance drones quickly creep into becoming armed assault vehicles. How long before Blue Devil is carrying a Hellfire missile “just in case” or it just deploys Switchblade ram drones to “secure” uncooperative drivers during a police chase?

    Maybe this sort of mission creep wont happen…but then again, I didn’t think think 10 years ago when i first saw a cobra attack helicopter… that today a local cop would be flying a FLIR enabled hexacopter over my neighborhood to check my house’s thermal signature…without a warrant.

    Maybe having a gigantic EYE of Sauron staring down at the Shire wont stop the terror….in fact, maybe that’s why there is a growing insurgency in the first place?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s