Friday, February 08, 2013

All Drones Big and Small

All Drones Big and Small
No, that’s not Afghanistan…  Look up…  Have you seen them?  Those little pilotless aircraft high in your sky, or sometimes not so high.

By de Andréa
February 8, 2013

This is confirmed through the freedom of information act: The drones are overhead.  I have seen one flying right over my house, I was tempted to shoot it down, but then I decided to pick up a tree branch and point it at the thing and pretend to lock my branch missile on it and fire.  I will likely receive a visit from the SS to confiscate all my assault branches.  If I do you can bet your sweet bippy that you will too.  Someone please bring a harmonica to the jail house so we can all sing.  “We Will Overcome”…

They carry cameras, lots of them.  They carry guns and missiles, and can surgically take you out while in your living room or your car.  The Government has your GPS coordinates, if you remember back before the last censes.  That bee or that butterfly or what looks like a RC model plane might also be a government drone taking pictures through your bedroom windowRead 1984 Is Here.

No, that is not a mosquito above; it is a mini drone with sensors and cameras.  And that spider on the wall…it might not be a spider at all, it might be a spyder like the one on the right

Records newly released to the Electronic Frontier Foundation reveal the federal government has approved dozens of licenses for unmanned aerial surveillance drones all across the United States.  If you didn’t believe it the last time I told you, Spies, Spies, Spies Everywhere Spies, then believe it now.  They are all over the country.  And they are watching YOU!  It’s called fishing…Surveillance Fishing.  They watch you and they watch you, the minute you do something they believe is suspicious like bringing a load of trash to the dump they will investigate, what are you dumping and why???

“These records, have been received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),” the EFF reports, “come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and – for the first time – three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).”

Some of the records show drones used for purposes as sensible as helping the U.S. Forest Service fight forest fires.  And yet other purposes, such as performing aerial observation of houses when serving warrants or covert surveillance of vegetable sales, or anything not defined however, have prompted the EFF to question privacy issues.

“Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air  Force is flying near Lincoln, Nev., and in areas of California and Utah,” EFF reports.  “This drone uses ‘Gorgon Stare’ technology, which Wikipedia defines as ‘a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone … capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.’ …  This type of technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.”

The use of military drones further raised flags in a New York Times report earlier this year, when reporter Mark Mazzetti joined a group of observers watching drone use at Holloman Air Force Base in a remote area in New Mexico and discovered the military was practicing for foreign missions by spying on American vehicles.  I wonder if they are using the aliens from Roswell

“A white S.U.V. traveling along a highway adjacent to the base came into the cross hairs [of the drone's view] and was tracked as it headed south along the desert road,” Mazzetti wrote.  “When the S.U.V. drove out of the picture, the drone began following another car.

“‘Wait, you guys practice tracking enemies by using civilian cars?’ a reporter asked,” according to Mazzetti.  “One Air Force officer responded that this was only a training mission, and then the group was quickly hustled out of the room.”

The EFF clarified that while the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace, which is almost everywhere else in the U.S.

“And, as we’ve learned from these records,” EFF reports, “the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country,” License or no license.

For example, Montgomery County, Texas, sought approval to use the thermal imaging abilities of a Shadow Hawk drone to support SWAT and narcotics operations by providing “real time area surveillance of the target during high risk operations.”

Yet some applicants sought FAA approval for multiple drone uses, a potential problem EFF worries could lead to “mission creep,” or unauthorized use.

“For example, the University of Colorado (which the FAA said has received over 200 drone licenses) requested a license in 2008, not just to study meteorological conditions but also to aid ‘in the study of ad hoc wireless networks with [the drone] acting as communication relays,’” EFF reports.  “And Otter Tail County, Minnesota, wanted to use its drone, not only for ‘engineering and mapping’ but also ‘as requested for law enforcement needs such as search and seizure and search and rescue.’”

The sheriff’s department of Queen Anne County, Md., stepped up its drug battles by partnering with the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and Navy to apply for permission to use a WASP II drone for a variety of purposes.
“The WASP II will be used for surveillance missions,” the FAA records state, “for example, search[ing] farm fields for marijuana (the operator would be stationed on the farm and would use the WASP to see the crop growth from the air), conducting search and rescue in remote areas (QA’s County has a state park.  Searching the river and coves can be difficult because of the high grasses.  An aerial view would be of significant help), surveillance of people of interest (watching open drug market transactions before initiating an arrest), providing aerial observation of houses when serving warrants.”

EFF claims more than half of the information it sought in its FOIA request a year and a half ago has yet to be released, not only leaving the map above significantly incomplete, but also raising questions about what is being withheld.

Even in the records that have been provided, some of the information has been redacted, including much of the Marine Corps’ records as well as those from some police departments, specifically the Orange County, Fla., sheriff’s department and Mesa County, Colo., sheriff.

“Before the public can properly assess privacy issues raised by drone flights, it must have access to the FAA’s records as a whole,” the EFF said.

THE BOTTOM LINE: It all sounds like technocops but the rule of thumb is, if something can be misused and/or abused by government, it will my friend…

Thanks for listening de Andréa

Copyright © 2013 by Bottom Line Publishing -  Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.


Romilda Gareth said...


James Terrier said...

Oh well, not sure about the mosquito drones, but the fact is that there are plenty of micro, or as they call them, nano models, but they are free to be used by the civilians as well. You have many interesting features to choose from, like aerial filming, or FPV (first person view racing) and so on. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you check out n article I found the other day, which talks about top small drones on the market, who knows, you might find your model there. Check out the article, here: