Tag Archives: surveillance

U.S. adds more Predator drones to search for drugs in the Caribbean

After quietly testing Predator drones over the Bahamas for more than 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security plans to expand the unmanned surveillance flights into the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico to fight drug smuggling, according to U.S. officials.

The move would dramatically increase U.S. drone flights in the Western Hemisphere, more than doubling the number of square miles now covered by the department’s fleet of nine surveillance drones, which are used primarily on the northern and southwestern U.S. borders.

But the high-tech aircraft have had limited success spotting drug runners in the open ocean. The drones have largely failed to impress veteran military, Coast Guard and Drug Enforcement Agency officers charged with finding and boarding speedboats, fishing vessels and makeshift submarines ferrying tons of cocaine and marijuana to America’s coasts.

 

Keep readingU.S. plans more drone flights over Caribbean

Continue reading

Congress orders FAA to integrate drones into the U.S. aviation system

As the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prepares to let civilian unmanned aircraft operate in domestic airspace, universities including Embry-Riddle have created majors in flying and building drones. Enrollment is accelerating as students look for new opportunities in an aviation job market pummeled by airline bankruptcies.

The drone industry, estimated worldwide at $5.9 billion annually, will expand to $11.3 billion by 2021.

During the past 10 years, drones have become a vital military tool in Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a platform to attack terrorists without risking pilots’ lives and giving ground troops a chance to see their opponents from the air.

Congress passed bills in December and February that ordered the FAA to create six test sites for flying unmanned aircraft alongside regular planes. The agency must also complete a plan for integrating unmanned flights into the aviation system by Sept. 30, 2015.

Unmanned aircraft could be used for photography, police surveillance and monitoring pipelines and power lines. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has special permission to use drones.

more at - Bloomberg

 

Here are a selection of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), used by the military. I suspect the first to be employed privately will be the helicopters for police surveillance.

A BQM-74E aerial drone is launched from the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) during a live-fire exercise.
Global Hawk Drone.
First flown in 2002, the Boeing X-45A was the first modern UAV designed specifically for combat strike missions. The stealthy, swept-wing jet has fully retractable landing gear and a composite, fiber-reinforced epoxy skin. Its fuselage houses two internal weapons bays.
The U.S. Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) launches into its flight test program.
A Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is being attended to by three soldiers at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan.
A Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) System.

 

// Photos – An Honorable German, Rennett Stowe, Cliff1066, Marion Doss, US Army Africa, & Marion Doss

// Thx to Kosso K

Sensors, Feedback Loops & The Humanity of Surveillance

Speed Radar Sign

In Wired’s July 2011 issue, it talks about how feedback loops are providing an exciting opportunity for changing human behavior, presenting the case of dynamic feedback displays, or driver feedback signs, where a speed limit is posted along with a radar sensor that reads your approaching speed and displays it on a digital sign. The comprising technology is not new or revolutionary but the use of them to influence behavior is pretty inventive considering no police officers or cameras are around to issue tickets. And it appears to be working.

The key is the loop and components themselves:

  • First you need DATA – evidence and measurement of a behavior.
  • Next you add in RELEVANCE, or social context, that provides a proxy for meaning. In the case of driver feedback displays, posting the speed limit next to your actual driving speed. This is called informational design.
  • The next step is CONSEQUENCE. The information must be tied to some larger goal or purpose.
  • Finally, you have ACTION where the party can calibrate a behavior, make a choice and do something. That action is measured and fed back into the loop where it can run again.

What’s been fueling the feedback loop revolution is the cost, availability and use of sensors. They’re drastically coming down in price and an increasing in quality and utility. Ostensibly a world with ubiquitous sensors could dramatically improve human behavior, allowing people to set and achieve more definable goals, curb destructive behaviors, monitor performance and continuously improve the process. You can imagine modifying everything from eating and drinking behaviors to work patterns to energy consumption to dating.

Regardless, by outsourcing our decision-making process, we are moving towards an existence where, more and more, technology performs a seemingly “human” role. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it helps us save us from ourselves.

 

Sensors, Feedback Loops & The Humanity of Surveillance

Speed Radar Sign

In Wired’s July 2011 issue, it talks about how feedback loops are providing an exciting opportunity for changing human behavior, presenting the case of dynamic feedback displays, or driver feedback signs, where a speed limit is posted along with a radar sensor that reads your approaching speed and displays it on a digital sign. The comprising technology is not new or revolutionary but the use of them to influence behavior is pretty inventive considering no police officers or cameras are around to issue tickets. And it appears to be working.

The key is the loop and components themselves:

  • First you need DATA – evidence and measurement of a behavior.
  • Next you add in RELEVANCE, or social context, that provides a proxy for meaning. In the case of driver feedback displays, posting the speed limit next to your actual driving speed. This is called informational design.
  • The next step is CONSEQUENCE. The information must be tied to some larger goal or purpose.
  • Finally, you have ACTION where the party can calibrate a behavior, make a choice and do something. That action is measured and fed back into the loop where it can run again.

What’s been fueling the feedback loop revolution is the cost, availability and use of sensors. They’re drastically coming down in price and an increasing in quality and utility. Ostensibly a world with ubiquitous sensors could dramatically improve human behavior, allowing people to set and achieve more definable goals, curb destructive behaviors, monitor performance and continuously improve the process. You can imagine modifying everything from eating and drinking behaviors to work patterns to energy consumption to dating.

Regardless, by outsourcing our decision-making process, we are moving towards an existence where, more and more, technology performs a seemingly “human” role. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it helps us save us from ourselves.