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Don’t Sleep On The Police State Even Though The #VikingsDrone Turned Out To Be Privately Owned

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January 1, 2013 in Technology


| WTF News |
Baran Hines

If you missed the uproar Sunday about the drone photographed flying above the Metrodome at the NFL’s Packers-Vikings game, it turned out not to be an agency-operated craft after all. HongPong.com and WTF News were alerted to the drone during the game Sunday by an attorney, Nathan Hansen.

Via Hongpong.com

My friend Nathan Hansen noticed the #VikingsDrone and the VIPR team, documenting & posting them on twitter @nathanmhansen. [Note: awhile back I did a 'lil client design work for Hansen.]

Hansen, self described as an “Attorney/Blogger/Irregular vs. The Powers that be.”, has a blog that can be seen here.

The drone turned out to be operated by a private company.

According to @TCRover, a branch of the Pioneer Press, the drone was NOT operated by the government but rather some production company. The pic they say is from the crew flying it earlier: See https://twitter.com/TCRover/status/285560684245315585/photo/1 . Nonetheless we still need to deal with the impending prospect of government & contractor drones filling our airspace – and indeed this story has prompted others to discuss other sightings near government sites.

Somewhere, someone is shouting on a soapbox that drone/police state conspiracy theorists are overreacting and there’s no need to worry about the growing surveillance state. Consider the following and keep in mind the rash of police brutality, shootings and corruption of late.

New technology is consistently years ahead of where society’s public perception is, especially that used by the government and intelligence agencies. Start with a commercial product of your choosing, say the popular iPhone and similar touchscreen tech. How long before this consumer technology hit shelves do you think this was available?

Apply that to what’s been seen from behind the curtain as it relates to surveillance tech. A recent article on Washington’s Blog, “Moore’s Law, Cheap Electronics and Homeland Security Money Combine to Create Big Brother”, summarized the genesis of this global police state in just the headline. Moore’s Law states that computing power roughly doubles every two years, though “the period often quoted as ’18 months’ is due to Intel executive David House”, but the world will really see irregular growth from here out.

Specifically, Moore’s law says that computing power doubles every two years. Computer processing and storage are advancing so quickly that massive quantities of visual and auditory data can be gathered, analyzed and stored.

Moreover, high-quality videocams and microphones keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Today, most people shoot video with their smartphone, and alot of people have webcams on the computers.

At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security is giving huge amounts of cash to local governments to obtain military hardware and software.

These 3 trends – increased computing power, cheaper videocams and microphones, and government funding for “homeland security” purposes – has led to a 1984 style surveillance society.

Moore’s Law is beginning to manifest exponentially in surveillance. A Wired article revealed a $2 billion data center in the Utah desert, so as many have chronicled lately, the NSA can and will spy on everyone in America. The NSA chief even denied the existence to Congress. There is a documented increase in the lower level fusion centers which pull information together from multiple sources.

CIA and Pentagon officials tout how your home appliances will spy on you, as well as your smart power meter. They can even tell what you’re watching on television by using these methods.

The Internet tracks virtually everything, including Google now tracking you offline. Cell phones can pinpoint your exact location.

The justification for the softer side of the of the police state is usually, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. That rationalization lives on because the method in question is usually still theoretical in the mind and doesn’t trigger rejection. No matter how draconian and creepy the surveillance technique, a large enough portion of people will put up with it, in the name of extra security. This is also subject to people even being aware of the possibility of being monitored.

Benjamin Franklin said it best.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Regardless of the perception of the soft surveillance, the hardware based techniques are what should concern everyone as the technology has become increasingly dangerous. Hardware refers to the technology that actually makes a physical impact on the body, a distinction that should give one pause for consideration is the propensity for injury is being raised in most new advancements. New developments are being made more undetectable everyday, leaving people vulnerable to the whim of the operator.

Specifically as it relates to drones, the technology is becoming ever smaller while the lethal potential increases. There are drones so small now that they mimic insects and one could land on you with out your knowledge while recording and tracking your every move.

Info started to leak out about nature inspired drones. There are birds, bats, bees and now insects.

In 2007, the US was accused of using insect sized drones to spy on protesters.

As early as in 2007 the US government was accused of secretly developing robotic insect spies when anti-war protesters in the US saw some flying objects similar to dragonflies or little helicopters hovering above them.

In 2008, the secretive agency DARPA openly discussed better technology through biomimicry

DARPA’s 2008 symposium discussed “bugs, bots, borgs and bio-weapons.”

A Wired article describes some of the functionality from micro-drones

Here’s how the U.S. Air Force wants to hunt the next generation of its enemies: A tiny drone sneaks up to a suspect, paints him with an unnoticed powder or goo that allows American forces to follow him everywhere he goes — until they train a missile on him.

On Tuesday, the Air Force issued a call for help making a miniature drone that could covertly drop a mysterious and unspecified tracking “dust” onto people, allowing them to be tracked from a distance. The proposal says its useful for all kinds of random things, from identifying friendly forces and civilians to tracking wildlife. But the motive behind a covert drone tagger likely has less to do with sneaking up on spotted owls and more to do with painting a target on the backs of tomorrow’s terrorists.

More on mosquito mimicking drones.

Forget the roachbots and the swarm of MIT humanoid robots dancing in sync, as well as “disposable” quarter-sized kilobots which are “cheap enough to swarm in the thousands,” and think instead of DARPA-like tiny insect cyborg drones that are “designed to go places that soldiers cannot” to work as spies or as swarm weapons. Is this a mosquito micro air vehicle (MAV)?

Alan Lovejoy wrote, “Such a device could be controlled from a great distance and is equipped with a camera, microphone. It could land on you and then use its needle to take a DNA sample with the pain of a mosquito bite. Or it could inject a micro RFID tracking device under your skin.” While DNA-sucking, RFID-chip-injecting mosquito drones are currently a bunch of bunk, a Bing image search shows a multitude of MAVs that aren’t simply CGI mockups.

A dragonfly drone was alleged to exist in the 1970s.

This little MAV had a 3 centimeter wingspan and that was back in 2007. When the U.S. government was accused of making insect spy drones in 2007, Tom Ehrhard, a retired Air Force colonel and expert on unmanned aerial craft, told the Telegraph, “America can be pretty sneaky.” The article also mentioned a dragonfly drone the CIA had developed in the 1970s.

So there are mini-drones flying around every where, what’s the big deal? The drones can be weaponized with anything from a sedative, a taser, a vaccine you may have opted out of or maybe even chemicals to make you surrender to and cooperate with authorities. These small drones could eventually deliver an RFID chip or other tracking device of some kind. The question should be whether we trust the current power structure to monitor these surveillance systems and the neutralization technology. The state of the 4th amendement and police misconduct in America should be a warning as to how new technology will be wielded. Do you want to take the chance you’ll be accidentally attacked by a drone? What do you think the technology has migrated to now? There are other predictions here.

More police state tech that might just wrongfully injure you

LRAD: Long Range Acoustic Device

Carl Gruenler, a former vice president of military and government operations for American Technology Corporation said that being within 100 metres (330 ft) of the LRAD is extremely painful, and that it was designed for use in short bursts at 300 metres (980 ft), to give targeted people a headache. He said that “you definitely don’t want to be” within 100 m; and, that the device will cause permanent auditory damage.[3] LRAD officials deny such common uses, claiming that the device is not a weapon, rather it is a “directed-sound communications system”, and that it can damage hearing at 15 metres (49 ft).

ADS: Active Denial System

The Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military,[1] designed for area denial, perimeter security and crowd control.[2] Informally, the weapon is also called the heat ray[3] since it works by heating the surface of targets, such as the skin of targeted human subjects. Raytheon is currently marketing a reduced-range version of this technology.

Homeland Security has these just in case of emergency…

Local police forces getting their own armored vehicles, some courtesy of Homeland Security money

Oakland, CA

Vermont State Police

Abilene, TX

Daytona Beach, FL
St. Petersburg, FL

Peoria, IL

Santa Barbara, CA

York County, PA, Sparks, NV, Garfield County, CO and Pasadena, TX
Nashville, TN
Passaic County, NJ
Charlotte, NC
Western Massachusetts
Tampa, FL and Temple Terrace, FL
Keene, NH

As the police state spiders into every aspect of modern life, it brings more surveillance and more enforcement.

There is not much escape from the tech surveillance grid. There are already documented cases of drones being used domestically, most notably the North Dakota farmer arrested over stolen cattle. The EPA is also spying on ranchers in the heartland. Right or wrong, it is happening fast.

Here’s more info on how the police state has worked its way into popular events.

The Super Bowl and World Series are also both declared National Special Security Events, which activates a fat block of overtime for many federal police agencies, much like the Republican & Democratic National Conventions. (However, since rioting at sports events is closer to the booze-soaked Id of the American public than more ‘political’ street upheavals, it doesn’t meet the same heavy hand from federal & local police agencies) NSSEs generally feature Homeland Security, FEMA and the Secret Service operating at a high tempo, another thing that HSI & TSA are getting involved with as a ‘filler force’ if you will.

For Super Bowl NSSE info see: Super Bowl XLVI, NSSE & Big Sis – YouTube // www.secretservice.gov/press/pub0202.pdf on Bowl XXXVI // this crazy PDF: rnc08report.org/engine/uploads/1/Day-2-Breakout-2-NSSE-Carillo-Lowry-Lumley.pdf // Infowars » Indy Super Bowl: National Security State Protects Sports Fans from Prostitutes // National Special Security Events: 8. NSSE Fill-in Fact Sheet // Article Detail – Domestic Preparedness via LLIS.gov // etc

Federal VIPR teams: been popping up in all sorts of places. Here’s the Wiki page. Wiki notes GAO attributes their existence to a Reaction to the shady Madrid train bombings. VIPR is trying to get at pro sports & local transportation (the Hiawatha light rail has a station close to where they were photographed) and wherever else they can normalize their presence. In this case the VIPR deployment apparently includes at least a half-dozen uniformed officers and at least one drone.

Don’t like it? Resist the change? You will be branded a terrorist

While reading people’s comments concerning spy drones flying overhead, there have been many comments about “skeet shooting” drones down from the sky. That would most likely be destroying government property and make a person a “terrorist.” Besides, would you really see a tiny part bot, part bug “cyborg insect” drone from a distance if it was spying on you?

Maybe you’ll be chased down by the Boston Dynamics Big Dog one day

Or the Cheetah which broke the speed record for legged robots at almost 30 MPH

Finally, iRobot coming soon. Meet Petman

Safety is a concern, but what is really happening here should be troubling for anyone to understand. The police state is growing out of control. You can’t even curl up in a ball to protect yourself from a police beating without it being called “active resistance” now.
Technology is only going to increase and people will develop new ideas as a counter balance, but the endpoint of this is some sort of precrime detection similar to Minority Report. That’s some crazy conspiracy stuff right?

That technology is developing now too. Homeland Security calls it FAST, Future Attribute Screening Technology, and they’ve already been testing it.

How much will you put up with? Will you wait until it gets as bad as South Park’s Toilet Security Administration?

Happy New Year

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