Drones Coming to A Town Near You

Where the Drones Are Flying as of April, 2012

Your worst enemy, he reflected, was your nervous system. At any moment the tension inside you was liable to translate itself into some visible symptom.
– George Orwell,1984, Book 1, Chapter 6

Did you ever read 1984? It’s a dystopian novel by George Orwell in which a fully-realized Totalitarian state rules over Oceania. Peoples’ thoughts are controlled and thought crimes can cause people to simply disappear.

In 1984, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens –

“It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself–anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face…; was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime…”

We know that happens now in North Korea as evidenced by the staged wailing of the populace at the death of Kim Jong Il. People who didn’t cry and scream realistically enough were sent to the Gulag.

The slogan that people of Oceania continually hear, as the mass surveillance rules their lives, is “Big Brother is watching you.” That is the core “Truth” of the state system, a system which exists for its own existence.

President Obama’s “Truth Team,” which monitors the opposition with very questionable “truths,” seems to some to be a sardonic and concerning reference to 1984,  given his penchant for Big Government.

We currently have the potential for mass surveillance in the form of drones. The potential will be limitless. Check it out here.

The militarization of our police departments has already begun –

  • There is strong evidence that NYC will use drones to go along with their ubiquitous cameras and scanners. [Drones over NYC]
  • It was only last December that North Dakota police arrested a family over six missing cows because of drone surveillance. Without a search warrant, without any constitutional protections, the family was arrested. [LA Times]
  • Wired.com reports that drones coming back from war are going to be available to police departments throughout the country thanks to relaxed restrictions by Congress. Several groups have started to pay attention including the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation.

There is no evidence that privacy rights or constitutional protections have been or will be provided. Did someone forget about the 4th Amendment?

Drones have or can be equipped with infrared cameras which are capable of peering right through the walls of your home. Drones made to look like insects are coming out of Harvard – they even hive. Drones are able to store data on every citizen as they fly overhead.

Our “intelligent” state campus on Stony Brook, Long Island is planning to add surveillance cameras throughout the grounds. They added cameras to poles on the street in Stony Brook with the excuse that they need them to locate hit and run drivers though there has only been one case in the last several years and the person was caught because of an eyewitness.

There are indications that these cameras will be able to communicate with drones.

There is always an excuse connected to health and safety when our freedoms are being limited.

There is no acceptable excuse to give up the 4th Amendment.

Alarming information coming from the Electronic Frontier Foundation – everyone is buying them –

The market for unmanned aircraft in the United States is expanding rapidly, and companies, public entities, and research institutions are developing newer, faster, stealthier, and more sophisticated drones every year. According to a July 15, 2010 FAA Fact Sheet (pdf), “[i]n the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs.” According to one market research firm, approximately 70% of global growth and market share of unmanned aircraft systems is in the United States (pdf). In 2010 alone, expenditures on unmanned aircraft “reached more than US $3 billion (pdf) and constituted a growth of more than 12%.” The market for these systems is only expected to increase: over the next 10 years the total expenditure for unmanned aircraft “is expected to surpass US $7 billion.” And some have forecast that by the year 2018 there will be “more than 15,000 [unmanned aircraft systems] in service in the U.S., with a total of almost 30,000 deployed worldwide.”

The applications to fly drones keep rolling in. There is even a “drones to save the whales abroad” group.

Forbes cites the government agencies who have applied to fly drones –

Government entities just need a Certificate of Authorization (COA) to fly a drone. That list includes just over 60 drone enthusiasts including DARPA; the FBI; branches of the military; the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, & Homeland Security; a bunch of public universities; and a few lucky police departments.

This needs to be stopped quickly. It is almost out of control now. Drones will be misused, of that there is no question.

I’m with Charles on this –