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XMFSinchiruna (27.56)

Daddy, Why is That Scary Thing in the Sky Following Us?

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43

March 21, 2010 – Comments (26)

"Don't worry son, that's just our government keeping us safe by watching us. Think of it like your big brother. He keeps you safe, doesn't he?"

"Actually, I've been afraid to tell you this, but Johnny takes my lunch money every morning, makes me empty my pockets before I get on the school bus, and then calls me a tender wrist if I complain."

"Yeah, but don't you feel safer cause he's keeping an eye on you?"

"I'm not sure ... but what's a tender wrist, anyway?"

"It's what protectors call people who don't like how they're being protected."

"Oh ... well I could do without that video camera Johnny put over my locker. And come to think of it ..."

"Shhh! Be careful, son! Don't let the bird hear you!"

"But you said not to be afraid of that thing."

"Just don't make a fuss, do as you're told, and you'll be safe."

"I thought you said Americans were free."

"Son, don't be a tender wrist."

"I'm so confused."

 

When science fiction becomes news, will people finally wake up?

http://news.cnet.com/Drone-aircraft-may-prowl-U.S.-skies/2100-11746_3-6055658.html

In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report," one North Carolina county is using a UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] equipped with low-light and infrared cameras to keep watch on its citizens. The aircraft has been dispatched to monitor gatherings of motorcycle riders at the Gaston County fairgrounds from just a few hundred feet in the air--close enough to identify faces--and many more uses, such as the aerial detection of marijuana fields, are planned.

A House of Representatives panel on Wednesday heard testimony from police agencies that envision using UAVs for everything from border security to domestic surveillance high above American cities.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-border_20tex.ART.State.Edition1.4c56cec.html

The federal government may soon send unmanned aircraft to scour West Texas and the state's coastal waters in an effort to boost border security, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a letter to the governor sent Friday.

 

Oh wait, we need financial content here ... I guess just keep investing in related defense contractors. No matter how deep into debt we sink, it's clear we'll always find the money to perpetually expand our burgeoning security infrastructure ... creating a new version of our country that I believe we'll scarcely recognize as our own a generation from now.

How far must it go before people raise their voices in peaceful protest (make sure you're in a free speech zone first!) and cast their votes accordingly?

Unmanned aerial vehicles ... coming soon to a neghborhood near you. It's not science fiction anymore.

 

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men."

- Samuel Adams

 

"Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government"

- Thomas Jefferson

 

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both"

- Benjamin Franklin

26 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 21, 2010 at 12:29 PM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

I was always a little skeptical of these drones after my father told me about their use.  He said it was a great way to spy on the enemy.  I asked him if they would use them hear in the states.  "No way, why would they need to spy  on us" he replied.

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#2) On March 21, 2010 at 1:25 PM, alstry (36.17) wrote:

And we thought the sky people were in Avitar?

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#3) On March 21, 2010 at 1:38 PM, simplemts (< 20) wrote:

You do realize that article is 4 years old right?

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#4) On March 21, 2010 at 1:49 PM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

simplemts

Does it matter? 

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#5) On March 21, 2010 at 2:09 PM, alstry (36.17) wrote:

Think about how much more it is being used today........and the technological advancement made since then.......

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#6) On March 21, 2010 at 2:30 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.56) wrote:

simplemts

Actually, I did NOT notice the age of the article. But that doesn't change a thing. If that North Carolina county was noteworthy for utilizing the technology four years ago, it certainly begs the question of how many departments nationwide may be using the UAVs today. Do you know the answer to that question? Wouldn't you like to?

dbjella

Bingo. A drawn out process of gradual desensitization lays the groundwork for each successive wave of intrusion into our prior notions of privacy and freedom.

And yet even my own friends and family continue to parrot the same careless response when I bring such developments to their attention: "It doesn't bother me ... I have nothing to hide." That apathetic sentiment captures the cultural milieu in which citizens have grown unaccustomed to serving as watchdogs for their own liberty. Once you relegate that responsibility to government, the potential for power to corrupt becomes more a certainty than a potential.

By the time they are the ones out enjoying a picnic one day and feel eerily and perhaps inexplicably uneasy about a drone hovering over their own heads, the time to stand up for freedom and the Constitutional rights upon which our nation was built will have come and gone.

When people wake up to discover that their liberty has been materially sacrificed in the name of security is a matter of personal choice. You either defend liberty whether or not you feel personally targeted by its gradual erosion ... or you turn a blind eye. By themselves, they may appear relatively innocuous, but bundle all the security modifications together and you see a very different country than we once enjoyed. 

Has anyone here actually READ the Patriot Act? I have ... I considered it my patriotic duty as an American citizen to remain informed of the security infrastructure being rolled out before our eyes.

Should members of Congress be censured for voting for pieces of legislation like the Health Care bill without personally reading every page? I believe so.

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#7) On March 21, 2010 at 2:32 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.56) wrote:

P.S. The second article linked in the original post is current.

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#8) On March 21, 2010 at 2:34 PM, simplemts (< 20) wrote:

Dbjella,

 To me, and the rest of the US, it does matter.  4 years after the article was published and no change has taken place.  The article proved to be "hype", or at least result in no change.  I actually worked for FLIR Systems, Inc, a manufacturer of the Infrared Cores used in UAV.  They are not cheap, not to mention the cost of the actual vehicles, and man power to operate and monitor them.  Think about it... our Fire Departments (an industry I now work in on the software side), Police Departments, and generally all state, county, city budgets are being CUT right now... not added to.  They are not going to splurge on this technology until budgets are in line, which at the EARLIEST would happen in 2012.  That is an optimistic assumption that we do not have any slowdowns or "another" recession, which I think is unrealistic.  

 I have no doubts UAVs, Face recognition, etc. will eventually trickle into America in a 1984/Brave New World but think we are a ways away as we are broke (hat tip to Mr. Alstry).   We have much bigger concerns like a collapse in the system over being monitored by CCTV/Infrared cameras. 

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#9) On March 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM, OneLegged (< 20) wrote:

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/archive/2008/August/Pages/CivilianDronesHaveYettoPassWeatherTest.aspx

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#10) On March 21, 2010 at 2:59 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.56) wrote:

If that NC county was already using them in 2006, then one wonders how this potential rollout of the devices in Miami (reported by Reuters in March 2008) could have represented the first.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1929797920080326

A small pilotless drone manufactured by Honeywell International, capable of hovering and "staring" using electro-optic or infrared sensors, is expected to make its debut soon in the skies over the Florida Everglades.

If use of the drone wins Federal Aviation Administration approval after tests, the Miami-Dade Police Department will start flying the 14-pound (6.3 kg) drone over urban areas with an eye toward full-fledged employment in crime fighting.

 

Here's a recent article from Britain's Guardian on the potential rollout across the pond. Designed to fly at 20,000 feet, the British version sounds more like a spy satellite. But they already have more cameras watching their citizens than any other country on Earth .... so this is just icing on the cake for them.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jan/23/cctv-sky-police-plan-drones

The Civil Aviation Authority, which regulates UK airspace, has been told by BAE and Kent police that civilian UAVs would "greatly extend" the government's surveillance capacity and "revolutionise policing". The CAA is currently reluctant to license UAVs in normal airspace because of the risk of collisions with other aircraft, but adequate "sense and avoid" systems for drones are only a few years away.

 

 

 

 

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#11) On March 21, 2010 at 3:55 PM, noratehikes4ever (< 20) wrote:

There is a line in the huge Health Care reform bill to be passed today (if it already hasn't) that requires real-time access and monitoring of your checking account by the government for automatic monthly withdrawals of health care payments and fines if necessary.

Why do you think this massive and revolutionary bill (change in how our society works) and the fixes/reconciliation to it are being pushed through in less than 72 hours of public disclosure?

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#12) On March 21, 2010 at 6:15 PM, devoish (97.27) wrote:

Ok,

So say I'm with you on this one. What do we do about satellites, and cameras on red lights? It seems to me that we crossed this bridge quite a few years ago. If we are to go back, exactly where do we go back to?

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#13) On March 21, 2010 at 7:28 PM, 100ozRound (29.43) wrote:

And Facebook is watching you at home and Google is tracking everything you do.

Our government is insidious.  You can't cook a frog by throwing him in a pot of boiling water - it would jump out; you have to put him in a pot of warm water and then turn on the heat gradually so he doesn't notice when the water begins to boil.  It's a metaphor for what is happening in America.  But we don't notice - well at least not most of us....

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#14) On March 22, 2010 at 4:47 AM, jdlech (< 20) wrote:

Whatever happened to the ultra-conservative mantra, "Only those who have something to hide have anything to fear"?

 Seems it was just a few years ago that you could not bring something like this up without some conservative reciting it.

So what changed since 2004?

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#15) On March 22, 2010 at 7:31 AM, Chromantix (97.92) wrote:

It should never have happened then and should not be happening now.

Get involved people - ask the folks who would like to live off your money what their stance is on using UAV's and other surveillance technology to monitor American citizens.  Tape it, and hold them to it.

 

The problem is Americans have terribly short memories.  Remember this when they come asking you for campaign contributions and votes.  Not just in 2010, but EVERY election.  Don't vote along party lines, vote on principles and issues!

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#16) On March 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM, BillyTG (29.29) wrote:

I just read the book 1984 this month. It was written about the USSR back in the day (1949 publish date I believe), but is scarily resembling the USA. Our government is too big, too powerful, and afraid of the people, contrary to everything the Founding Fathers envisioned.

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#17) On March 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

#11: "There is a line in the huge Health Care reform bill to be passed today (if it already hasn't) that requires real-time access and monitoring of your checking account by the government for automatic monthly withdrawals of health care payments and fines if necessary."

That would mandate that every one has to have a checking account which is unconstitutional. They don't have the power to mandate that we purchase anything. Are you sure that's in the Bill? 

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#18) On March 23, 2010 at 1:08 PM, angusthermopylae (40.53) wrote:

#14:

Whatever happened to the ultra-conservative mantra, "Only those who have something to hide have anything to fear"?

 Seems it was just a few years ago that you could not bring something like this up without some conservative reciting it.

So what changed since 2004?

What happened is that the NeoCons are no longer in charge--they were too shortsighted to believe that the same tools the Repubs used would someday be available to Democrats in power.

This goes for legislative tactics, Justice Department actions, budget processes, military justification, and torture.

Once someone has 'cracked the seal", the only rhetoric you'll hear is about degree and application...both directly proportional to how close to dominance that person's party holds.

...bunch of fricking idiots...

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#19) On March 23, 2010 at 3:34 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

Well I guess the first "point of order" is are you TMF staff?

TMF is an amazing site but is frequently impacted by "external forces". Please clarify so I can respond with insight.

Regards, IIcx 

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#20) On March 23, 2010 at 3:50 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

Consider, how screwed-up would it be if we responded to a "Fool" the "Motley Fool" failed to "first" define in our game?

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#21) On March 23, 2010 at 4:00 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

"our" should have been properly more stated as "their game"

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#22) On March 23, 2010 at 4:19 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

; )

So, if TMF isn't properly tracking the "game" -- shouldn't you be encouraged that there are those who are concerned about keeping it "sound"?

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#23) On March 23, 2010 at 4:29 PM, IIcx (< 20) wrote:

quite right TMFSinchiruna,

Every comment, every pitch, every pick is data "on file".

But, when did we become afraid? 

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#24) On March 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.56) wrote:

IIcx

I'm sorry: I don't understand your comments or questions.

My relationship to The Motley Fool is disclosed in every article I write. My views are mine alone.

I don't see the relevance to the discussion.

As for comment #17 above, that is precisely the problem with the law's mandated requirement that people purchase health care coverage. Regardless of the particulars involving checking account data (I'm not familiar with the detail, but I also haven't had a chance to sit down and read the 2,500+ pages quite yet), the mandate to purchase coverage is inherently unconstitutional in my lay opinion. I heard that 13 States' Attorney's General have challenged the law on those grounds, perhaps someone can confirm that one too.

They don't have the power to mandate that we purchase anything. Are you sure that's in the Bill? 

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#25) On March 24, 2010 at 4:05 PM, XMFSinchiruna (27.56) wrote:

[Last line of #24 was meant to be in quotes, from comment #17]

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#26) On March 24, 2010 at 4:17 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

#24

Chris,

Some argue that we are forced by law to feed, clothe, shelter, educate and heal those that can't or choose not to do for themselves in the form of existing entitlement programs. And some of those same people argue that since that is the case it must be okay to continue to do so and increase the tax burden on those that are most strapped for cash, the middle class, to pay for the newly passed healthcare bill. In my way of thinking it is best not to continue and build upon mistakes of the past.

I heard a news story this morning that said thirteen Attorney's Generals are going to challenge the law. I also heard yesterday there could be as many as 32 that will do the same. To say the least this will make for some interesting debate.

My best to you and yours,

Cato

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