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Drone ‘Nightmare Scenario’ Now Has A Name: ARGUS (aclu.org)
148 points by jamesbritt 1695 days ago | hide | past | web | 92 comments | favorite



I'm afraid the genie is out of the bottle. ARGUS uses mobile phone sensors. Cameras are becoming almost "too cheap to meter", and too small to notice. Billions of people now walk around with mobile phone cameras, so chances are you're going to be recorded by someone in public, especially as cameras continue to evolve.

It may be some small consolation that consumer cameras are ground level, and decentralized, where as ARGUS is centralized and easier to regulate, but the way people are sharing more and more of their life stream, it's probably going to be possible for organizations that watch social networks to track people's movements.

I wonder if in some ways, this is a return to a kind of prehistoric small tribal life of everyone knowing where everyone is and what they are doing, and if anonymity and privacy of movement that we cherish is somewhat of a later invention at agriculture, and that modern technology is just increasing the size of our tribe.


Two thoughts on this:

1. I think the course to a mass surveillance society is set and inevitable. The culture shift in relation to privacy is evident. Both on the net and offline people gradually get used to the idea of being tracked, observed, analyzed, etc. The virtue of tomorrow is I've done nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide.

2. Google Glass poses an interesting dilemma. I expect it to be as prevalent as smartphones in the next 5 years. Now in this situation how do you frame a question of privacy when virtually everyone is able to live stream and record as they go without anyone knowing about it? Everyone's an agent and when you're out you will be keenly aware of it. It'll be fun to watch how this plays out :)


User iwwr summarized well the problems with the "nothing to hide" argument:

"The ability to gleam private details about people is having some power over them. The entire modern theory of government rests on limiting and dividing up the power of those in power. With mass surveillance, that balance is broken. Not only do we have private details on individuals, that knowledge is held by a small and unaccountable elite, protected by state secrets.

Even if you live completely lawfully and morally and truly have nothing to hide you can either:

1. Unwittingly do something illegal (there are too many laws on the books for anyone to know they are completely innocent); or do something that can be construed as such, since the police and prosecutors can be fallible;

2. Still live in a society where a small group of individuals can exert blackmail and intimidation on a significant proportion of citizens. Even if that power would be rarely used, it creates an environment of fear. People start to be afraid to speak against abuse, those in power stand less for their own scrutiny."

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4957864


It's even worse. Since data will be stored almost indefinitely people will be able to be persecuted retroactively for things they did or beliefs they had many years ago, even if those actions or beliefs were en vogue at the time.


The danger and difference is that governments that use these capabilities are dangerous. Not only can they rightly or wrongly harm individuals, they can do so for whole populations.

If you were shunned (rightly or wrongly) by your village for some observed or inferred transgression, you could go somewhere else.

There is no longer somewhere else.


Being ostracized by one's village was often a death sentence. With no mutual protection against wild animals and no stored food, only the hardy would survive.


Unless they were able to get to and integrate with somewhere else.

But now it doesn't matter, because there is no somewhere else.


What if we went the completely opposite way? Forgo ALL privacy? Everyone has access to everyone else's data and metrics. If the genie is all ready out of the bottle, this might be the best outcome.


No, this means that petty street crime, protests, rallys, etc. are being monitored but closed-door talks between politicians, lobbyists, and finance execs are not. It's directly targeting the blue-collar outdoors and protecting the white-collar.

But in reality this isn't about fighting crime even. It's about making money. It's no secret that our wars our dying down. How will the drone manufacturers make money? They re-purpose their inventions for use at home and they'll begin selling them to foreign allies who will re-sell them to foreign enemies. Add to that the tremendous manpower behind these drones and there's billions to be made.


If all privacy is forgone the politicians privacy would be dropped too. While this is of course difficult to enforce (something like Google Glasses that constantly stream? Or even implants?) it would create a society devoid of hidden intentions. Crime would be easily solved as well, and politics would be completely transparent.

I am twisted on this issue, but it is definitely an interesting viewpoint to consider.


In practice, politicians will be exempt 'for security reasons'.


Looks like a classic case of weirdtopia [1] to me.

[1] http://lesswrong.com/lw/xm/building_weirdtopia/


it would create a society devoid of hidden intentions

Like hell it would. People would still find a way to deal in secret.


David Brin's "The Transparent Society" explores this very idea:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transparent_Society

"The Transparent Society (1998) is a non-fiction book by the science-fiction author David Brin in which he forecasts social transparency and some degree of erosion of privacy, as it is overtaken by low-cost surveillance, communication and database technology, and proposes new institutions and practices that he believes would provide benefits that would more than compensate for lost privacy."


I can't recommend "The Light Of Other Days" (Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter) enough for an exploration of this topic. It's a fictional novel where a specific technology gradually erodes privacy to quite an extreme level - It's very interesting speculation in the light of the way that current technology is trending. Great book.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Other-Days-Arthur-Clarke/dp/00...


For the simple reason that not everyone you deal with is altruistic and has your best interests at heart. "anything [said] can and will be used against [the defendant] in the court of public opinion".

Release of all information, without the required changes in human behaviour can only lead to self-censorship on a grand scale as people try and cover all the flaws an blemishes that might result in them not getting promoted (because the other candidates go to the gym more often and lead healthier lives) or getting that mortgage because you like to drink wine a little more than the average person and so your long term health might be put at risk.

The list of possible problems is endless.


You are committing something like the "perfect candidate fallacy".

For a bank, making your future more predictable would likely just result in a different rate on the loan (either higher or lower, but they are interested in writing any loan that they think they can price sufficiently well).

For the job, the candidates with better measurements would likely get promoted faster, but over time, the companies with more meaningful measurements would (should?) be more profitable, and there would probably still be interesting work for people with lesser "stats". If a measurement is leading to higher profitability, there is at least one argument that it is fair.

Even for something like healthcare it shouldn't be that scary, if we (as a society) don't want predicted costs to factor into the availability of health care, then we shouldn't pretend to operate under an insurance scheme.

None of that is to say I have any desire to live in a transparent society.


I was not thinking of perfect candidates but rather having a lot of information that was previously inaccessible to those without means and money offers considerable scope for mischief. Even the most innocuous of habits can be used by those with a grudge or who you are in some way competing with to sow seeds of doubt and cause peers or superiors to question your motives, veracity or trustworthiness.


I think I get what you are saying, I guess I find such petty tyranny intolerable today, so more of it isn't very scary.

(I do realize that it is often a complicated thing to deal with)


The flaws and blemishes are less meaningful if you can see everyone else's flaws and blemishes as well.


Having their own flaws doesn't stop people from punishing others for those same flaws.


In a negative-sum game perhaps. When comparing to someone else who also has flaws or blemishes, or in settings where you risk your own credibility by being a hypocrite, it won't happen.


So if we move in this direction as a society, we'll have to make doubly sure that the total lack of privacy applies to the political and corporate decision makers as much as, or more than, everyone else.


>What if we went the completely opposite way? Forgo ALL privacy? Everyone has access to everyone else's data and metrics. If the genie is all ready out of the bottle, this might be the best outcome.

What good will that do?

For one, the people reading and using other people's data (mega-corporations, states, agencies, etc) are not going to forgo any of THEIR privacy.

So, in effect, you are just arguing "let's all go even more 'naked'".

The more, the better for them.


By "everyone" do you include the government? This always seems to be the big exception. We've moved in the direction of secretive government that wants to know everything about you, which is the opposite of what I'd prefer to see: open, transparent government that respects basic liberties.


All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.


Why would you think "we" could do that?

It will always be illegal to fly YOUR drone over the White House. Always. Proceed from there.


I think there's a difference between forgoing privacy when in public and forgoing privacy when in private. Having anybody be able to see me when I'm on a city street is one thing, having anybody be able to see into my bedroom is another.


Yes, when faced with apparently insuperable force, why not just lie down and concede?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome


Somebody is saying this is inevitable - and whenever you hear somebody saying that, it's very likely to be a set of businesses campaigning to make it true. -- Richard Stallman

Whenever and wherever freedom and enlightenment rear their head in the form of specific people and specific insights, they are systematically fought. By all sorts of specific people for all sorts of specific reasons -- but not by laws of nature, or the laws of progress or whatever is dreamed up. Whatever road we're currently going down, it's one of many possible ones. And every step along it is made of people, decisions, and responsibility.


Funny you mention that. It does not work.

http://youtu.be/q3Ypefy31K4


Disgusting.

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."

-- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


A 1.8 Gpixel sensor has at 24 frames/s and 24 bit/pixel a data rate of nearly a TBit/s. So I would actually like to see, how they are handling such a data rate (inside of the drone). And how they actually get the data out of the drone.

And to look a bit more into this numbers ( and using the numbers from Backblaze [1]) it seems that the uncompressed video of a single drone over a year would cost $1.5e9, of course divided by the compression ratio. However for 14 days of video the storage cost would be in the ballpark of $60M per drone, that sounds actually quite possible ( especially given an additional factor of ~20 lower costs due to compression and a similar factor of ~20 for five years of HD development).

So this seems actually be technology which could on a timescale of five years be available at costs comparable to two or three police cars (plus the costs of the drone, which should be in a similar range). And I for one find this quite creepy.

[1]roughly $50/TB http://blog.backblaze.com/2013/02/20/180tb-of-good-vibration...


The vast majority of the image doesn't change too much between frames.

I'm no image compressing genius but calculating only the deltas between frames and transmitting only those pixels that actually change by an order of magnitude (with some type of filter) should dramatically reduce bandwidth and storage size and cost by an order of magnitude.

Kind of like a large number of small git commits for slowly changing data - store large amounts of mostly duplicated data with progressive delta changes.


It would of course be compressed, but I have the least confidence in the estimate in the compression ratio which is achievable in such a setting. So I did only add it in a handwaving way in the end.


1.8 Gpixel sensors don't exist, due to physics. It's combining 368 sensors.

No one stores or transmits uncompressed video outside of RAM. 15Mbps is decent for 1080p24, so 1.8 Gpixel 24fps would be decent at 15Gbps. Assuming say 14 hours of daylight (drones can't stay up indefinitely and night vision has different requirements), that's no more than ~100 TB per mission or day. As for getting the data out, I'd assume they swap an array of 50 HDs or so.


The announcer in the video claims "a million terabytes of video a day" at 2:45. That sounds like science fiction and has to be off by several orders of magnitude.


Probably speaks about the total uncompressed video.


    1.8 Gpixel sensors don't exist, due to physics.
Why don't they exist? ( I imagine it is just a matter of making the chip large enough, to accommodate enough pixels.)


Well, I guess the sensor could theoretically be made using the entirety of a wafer. But it would be useless since the lens needed for such a large sensor would be more than the size and weight of a large ground telescope.


Off-topic:

I love SparrowOS's (dead) comments - they're so off the cuff and random. Trying to make sense of them is like doing a really hard crossword puzzle. I have noticed one thing about them, however - when he speaks as himself they make complete sense. E.g.

> I had a problem with discipline. I worked at Ticketmaster while in college, but I know I wouldn't have studied more, just knowing my personal psychology.

> If you love programming more than anything, you are probably the kind of person who wants to know assembly language. If your full heart is not into programming, maybe not.

> I wrote my own compiler. Doesn't use REGs to pass values to functions.

They only become incomprehensible when he is relaying, as he puts it, what God says. E.g.

> Replacement So This_is_confusing gate attain imprinted educated comforting sentences awaiting deepness sufficiently scroll thee vacation discovereth knocked narrower I'm_off_today replenish stories 98 etext00 insultingly spunky vintage-vacation excellency overcast chastened prayed miss thirtieth One possesses preferable conquered affects bestowed restrainest feeling field Was surprise_surprise what_a_mess condemned Jove sheep obeying rights precede Austria stumble tide contrition turned Cherubim banquetings commandeth abhorring freely hinder diving sons' Watch_this -unto narrower rested effect loosen ordered kindred opening wail unsound render strongholds ebb blood bitterness Files

It seems almost like his thinking is split into two modes - one rational and the other a stream of consciousness. The first makes sense to the rest of us since there are commonalities which we can relate to (i.e. logic) but the second must contain a great deal of personal references which only he can understand the meaning of. "God's words" are his feelings put into text in a completely unfiltered way.


There was a discussion with him in this metafilter comment thread which you may find interesting.

http://www.metafilter.com/119424/An-Operating-System-for-Son...


I expected the 'drone nightmare scenario' would be when they kill us, not just look at us. You know, like folks in parts of Pakistan are already living.


If this has the ability to track a good fraction of people from home to work in a given metro area, this could be a boon for optimizing traffic/transit resources and urban planning in general. If I were a DoT, I'd want this.

W/re privacy. It's only a few years away from private companies having this tech available. So a bigger concern might be abuse of this information by an unregulated market.


>If this has the ability to track a good fraction of people from home to work in a given metro area, this could be a boon for optimizing traffic/transit resources and urban planning in general. If I were a DoT, I'd want this.

Yes, definitely, this is what they are gonna use it for... to make your transport better...


[deleted]


It definitely has lots of possible good uses. It remains to be seen if some of the capabilities get abused and if they do whether people judge that as too high a price for the conveniences, or if they judge it to be, on the whole, worthwhile given the benefits (mostly conjecture till implemented, at this point).

If they could put this along the drug routes (if they can deal with the difficulties of monitoring over water) this could have the potential to strangle superficial (surface) drug routes (now that small subs are gaining popularity with traffickers, maybe this would not matter much). Also could be used to cut down on cross border human trafficking.

Certainly, it would seem, tracking a suspect just became much easier and in the future, cheaper then deploying a whole team of people on the ground staking someone out. Altho, I imagine, they would need to have multiple signals to have more certainty that they know who's who.


I don't care what the good is. I simply don't want to be policed by robots.

And yes, I object to a lot of what is already deployed, including CCTV, speed cameras, etc. I don't mind so much on private sites, but it should never happen in public space unless, IMHO, its for a limited operation of some sort.

Reading your contribution makes me think you have been willingly "divided" off in to one camp. For you its border protection. Other will have other issues, drugs, immigrants, terrorists, poor people, ghetto control.... Even so, the second you give an inch, the authorities will encourage mission creep. Then those who approved of the original spin will begin to disapprove, but by then, damage will be done and it will be far too late to reverse it.

See, Im willing to be that the would be many who would approve of these things being armed and taking down targets on US soil. The public will accept it, until granny is taken out.

If we carry on this way, it wont be long until we are all required to carry trackers so some creepy organisation can follow us 24/7 on bloody google maps.

What continually worries me is watching old dystopian scifi films. They are like a check list of today's society. Watch them a year later and you'll be able to tick off more.

But, then, we do keep consenting to it. We do keep voting for it. So, I guess we want it. And who am I to object to the democratic will of the people?


"If we carry on this way, it wont be long until we are all required to carry trackers so some creepy organisation can follow us 24/7 on bloody google maps..". When I read this statement I got so scared that I almost dropped my smartphone


Your first points about how there are well known methods for manipulating democratic will are spot on. What truly democratic will is left in a world where politicians have power to mold the democratic will that is supposed to be controlling them?


> It remains to be seen if some of the capabilities get abused

I think it's axiomatic that whenever the tools for oppression are put in place it's only a matter of time before they are used. It'll start with something simple. Some national outrage which the party in government responds to by deploying the drones. Then it'll become normalized. And soon enough it'll become "but what have you to fear if you have nothing to hide" - which in a country with so many ways for everyday citizens to be in breach of its byzantine laws really means it becomes almost discretionary whether you're picked up for one thing or another unless you conform to the whims of the ruling elite.

I think Europeans (of which I am one, prior to becoming an American) tend to have a closer relationship to the abuse of totalitarian tools under the guise of good intentions (particularly those of us over a certain age).


Interesting point, but how does implementing a technology prevents others from doing the same? I would think if it needs to be regulated then new laws need to be written.


I would compare laws to stifle innovation in this field as effective as laws attempting to prevent SW copyright violation, or as effective as laws aimed at proscribing what you may and may not do on the internet.

Aside from regulation, in this case the FAA could regulate this as their domain, I don't see why others could not. Anyhow, eventually this could improve such that it could be done from satellites. Since there is less regulation there (national and international) it could get a bit tricky.


> FAA could regulate this as their domain

This is similar to having a law and FAA enforcing it. They don't need to have the tech to prohibit others from using it. Surveillance satellites is a whole other can of works IMHO.


I'm trying to keep the Orwellian thoughts out of my head, but this skips a few steps of creepiness for me. Is this even deemed legal/illegal?


We live in a nation which likes civil rights in the abstract but not in the implementation. This causes us all to lose.

A plurality exists to clamp down on many freedoms. Use cases to deny first amendment rights are popularized - heck our biggest media companies built on the back of the first amendment now wish to see it neutered. Gun rights folks want the Obama administration to pursue second amendment restrictions, yet some of those most vocal about protecting such freedoms cheered on the Bush administration when it wanted to clamp down on speech, or when gay rights pushes are defeated.

Security. Think of the children. Moral outrage. etc

The rich powerful elites have successfully divided the nation to such a degree that they can push through any invasive law they like because they can always bundle together enough of us who hate enough more of us to gain a plurality in its support. More usually they don't need that even. They have the political class in pocket and when it comes to election we have no vote outside of the gerrymandered two sides of the same party system.

Rambling but you get my point.


I agree and have a hard time convincing friends/family, polarized on either side, this same point. The agenda of the elites is being advanced by whichever party will take the lowest bid. And cleverly enough this just keeps us pitted against each other while allowing for small victories/defeats, depending on what side your on. I wonder if Roman/British common folk had discussions like these while they watched helplessly..


Bread & circuses.


Um, well, we know.

Well, I know. You know. Others seem to know. We are not special people with special knowledge. So we must presume every one, or at least a majority know. Unless of course we clever people want to label them ignorant, or what ever.

So, tell me, why are "we" voting for this?

At some point, those with the vote need to take some responsibility for what we are voting for, and stop blaming those we give a mandate to.


Because everyone has a slightly different take on what rights who should have. House divided against itself and all that. It's not so much respect for freedom, or lack of it, but rather no respect for fellow citizens.


I'm guessing but I think it straddles a legal grey area, depending on what's carried out (how something's done).

In general one cannot expect any privacy while in public. That's been established many times over by the courts in the US. On the other hand, tracking recognizable people, I think without a probable cause, would be illegal. On the other hand if they just keep the footage and regressively backtrack activity after an activity was found to be illegal on the ground, then I don't see how using the generated footage would be illegal --and this would help law enforcement to some significant degree (i.e, someone was found stabbed on the sidewalk, no witnesses, let's backtrack the footage and track the attacker forward or backward).


"Is this even deemed legal?"

I'm sure the government itself deems it legal. The rest of us might disagree.

"When the President [or government] does it, that means that it is not illegal."

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22if+the+president+does+it%2C+the...

l'Etat, c'est les


I am sure the audience on here is mostly already familiar with the Panopticon, but it sure feels like our society is becoming it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon


The JSTARS aircraft which has been around for 20+ years is kind of interesting as a forerunner. It can track 600 ground targets (vehicles) over 50,000 sq km using radar. This was 20 years ago, and that is the unclassified portion. We don't really know how it's improved since then, or how many simultaneous targets it can actually track in 2012.

During the DC Sniper incident, they were debating posse comitatus and whether or not to bring one of these craft into action to track cars in the vicinity of a reported sniper attack.


Could JSTARS-like systems be on the RC-7Bs reportedly deployed (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1...)?


Previous ARGUS discussion: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5129332


Maybe it's time to move some where with a lot of fog and rain. You could also encourage everyone to buy the same umbrella just to make it challenging for this thing...


Presumably named after this fellow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argus_Panoptes


Albert-Laszlo Barabasi talked about this sort of fear a few years ago in his boot Bursts[1]. He figured Google would be the one to do it. Even with dropouts occurring when someone goes into a bus, people's movements tend to have low entropy[2]. Since most people's movements follow pretty predictable routines, over time the system can learn to predict most people's positions given noisy data.

It might not work well for criminals trying to avoid being seen by arial cameras during the day, hiding out away from their usual haunts and obscuring their faces. It will probably be a big win for marketing data analytics firms.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Bursts-Patterns-Everything-mail-Crusad...

[2] http://www.barabasilab.com/pubs/CCNR-ALB_Publications/201002...


This is, alas, the inevitable consequence of the technological progression that most of us here strive towards on a daily basis.


And it's also why we shouldn't just be focused on creating the technology, but we should be increasingly focused on the system (society) into which it is being placed.


... or art which helps people imagine it.


What's the motive behind the U.S. government revealing this to the public? I can't seem to logically come to any conclusion.


To prepare people for what's coming in the next 5-10 years. If cities become panopticons overnight that would induce a greater degree of alarm and popular resistance to the idea. Introducing things gradually such that people become habituated is less likely to result in significant pushback.


If you want to see the kinds of tech research the military has been funding for the ARGUS platform: http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/technology?term=argus

A few of these include:

Near-realtime Forensic Analysis Capabilities for Moving Target Indicator (MTI) Data

High Resolution 3D Reconstruction from Wide-Area Video

Wide Area Video Image Storage Techniques



"You're being watched. The government has a secret system. A machine that spies on you every hour of every day."


Are we talking about drones or cell phones?


Just listened to the last two episodes of This American Life, about a school in Chicago where there have been 29 kids shot over the last year.[1]

On seeing this, immediately wondered if you could combine drones with gunshot detection systems.[2]

The drone could hone in on gunshots and follow any vehicle in a drive by in real time without a dangerous car chase.[3]

By implication, the drone "nightmare" scenario probably kicks in in full when we all put license plates on roofs.

On the upside, no more drive-bys. We stop raising whole classes of kids with PTSD.

On the downside, the returns are probably greater for police who use drones to monitor traffic offenses. So we're probably immediately fined $700 for any rolling stop. Worse case, drones network with traffic signals to turn lights red right before we pass through.[4]

I'm conflicted. I know there's a famous quote about people who trade privacy for security, and how they're all Nazis. But I'm really on board with helping those kids.

I know that before Miranda and some similar cases, there was an epidemic of rubber hose interrogations in police station backrooms. I know there's still a lot of improvement to be made, but some simple changes in the courtroom made sweeping changes to the ways law enforcement interacted with suspects. Maybe some legal scholar can come up with a few guidelines that help the police to use these sorts of technologies to do some good, while still restricting their ability to abuse them.

1. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/h...

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunfire_locator

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boomerang_(countermeasure)

3. Chase related crashes from just the last few months:

http://theadvocate.com/news/police/4714718-123/police-chase-...

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/story?section=news/local&id=...

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/police-4-cars-...

http://www.redeyechicago.com/news/breaking/chi-suspects-car-...

4. http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/red_light_cams_red_light_...


If we want to help those kids, we must address the fundamental reasons those kids were shot. Drones detecting gun shots is a technological bandaid with the side effect of empowering the State even more.

People don't want to address the fundamental problems because they're hard and ugly and uncomfortable. It's much easier to dream about technology solving all our ills, when a lot of our problems are an effect of immorality.


False dilemma -- we can address the root causes and also add measures to prevent violence when those causes are not addressed effectively. The OP's point is sound and if you start the argument against universal surveillance by claiming it will not reduce crimes such as these you will not be taken seriously. The question is not if crime will be reduced but at what cost is it worth it. The cameras are coming and the bottom line is we need to decide who sits behind them: a select few, or everyone.


I live on the south side of Chicago. Whenever I pass through "trouble" intersections (near the El, etc), I see a myriad of tech perched atop towers--red light cameras, gun shot detectors, CCTV cameras, etc. Adding a small "hut" to contain UAVs is the logical next step. And it will do nothing to fix the root cause of the issues. Neither will hiring more cops to patrol distressed areas. The problem is cultural.


Mass surveillance of individuals by governments in many developed countries is already done via the mobile phone system, and increasingly even by private companies via smartphones.

That cat has been out of the bag for a long time. Drones are just one more cog in this respect.


Eh, the UK has had cameras covering every square inch of their cities for years, hasn't turned into a dystopian hell scape yet


That's probably because they can't actually see anything on their cameras or man them very well.


It can't become what it already is.


With pervasive cameras everywhere, your only hope is that your signal gets lost in the noise.


What about night surveillance? I doubt night-vision is possible at that altitude.


Of course it is. "Nght" (infrared) vision is possible in space, and anywhere else. Infrared light isn't limited to (or by) the atmosphere. In fact, infrared satellite images played an important part in the Bin Laden raid.


I wonder how long it will take for these to start issuing speeding tickets.


4th Amendment anyone?

...anyone?


It's been steadily eroded after a couple hundred years of court cases. It's really depressing to see almost all our constitutional rights now gone by this same process. When the government can explain their right to kill citizens extra-judicially in 16 pages, something's gone wrong.

I think we need a second bill of rights which re-establishes our rights in detail (and updates them for the digital age) and explicitly voids all contradicting precedence. That should last us another 200 years.

Specifically to your point, from what I know, surveillance is ok in public places. These drones clearly violate that since they could be watching your backyard BBQ. Worse, they could peer through skylights, into courtyards, through your sunroof, etc. But I'm sure the wise judges will find another reason based on precedent that this is ok.


Enhance...enhance...




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