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Posted: 3/31/2006 8:14:38 AM EDT
While use on the border may be worthwhile, they will also use it to monitor citizens for "crimes". Seems like Big Brother really will be watching you.

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

Drone aircraft may prowl U.S. skies
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET News.com

Published: March 29, 2006, 1:41 PM PST
TalkBack E-mail Print
Unmanned aerial vehicles have soared the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq for years, spotting enemy encampments, protecting military bases, and even launching missile attacks against suspected terrorists.

Now UAVs may be landing in the United States.

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. Private companies also hope to use UAVs for tasks such as aerial photography and pipeline monitoring.

"We need additional technology to supplement manned aircraft surveillance and current ground assets to ensure more effective monitoring of United States territory," Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner at Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Bureau, told the House Transportation subcommittee.

Kostelnik was talking about patrolling U.S. borders and ports from altitudes around 12,000 feet, an automated operation that's currently under way in Arizona. But that's only the beginning of the potential of surveillance from the sky.

In a scene that could have been inspired by the movie "Minority Report," one North Carolina county is using a UAV 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.

That raises not just privacy concerns, but also safety concerns because of the possibility of collisions with commercial and general aviation aircraft.

"They're a legitimate user of the airspace and they need to play by the same rules as everyone else," Melissa Rudinger, vice president of regulatory affairs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said in a telephone interview.

Pilots undergo extensive training on collision detection and avoidance. Planes that fly at night are required to have certain types of lights, for instance. Operating an aircraft near busy airports (in government parlance, "Class B" airports) requires a transponder that broadcasts its altitude. And during all flights that take place in poor weather or higher than 18,000 feet above sea level, the pilot must be in radio contact with controllers.

No such anti-collision rules apply to UAVs. Rudinger is concerned that UAVs--either remote-controlled or autonomous drones--will pose a safety threat to pilots and their passengers. She's not that worried about larger UAVs operated by the military that have sophisticated radar systems, but about smaller ones that have limited equipment and potentially inexperienced ground controllers.

"The FAA needs to define what is a UAV," Rudinger said. "And they need to regulate it just like they do any other aircraft, and integrate it into the system. The problem is the technology has advanced, and there are no regulations that talk about how to certify these aircraft, how to certify the operator, and how to operate in the national airspace system."

"Currently there is no recognized technology solution that could make these aircraft capable of meeting regulatory requirements for 'see and avoid,' and 'command and control,'" said Nick Sabatini, associate FAA administrator for aviation safety. "Further, some unmanned aircraft will likely never receive unrestricted access to (U.S. airspace) due to the limited amount of avionics it can carry because of weight, such as transponders, that can be installed in a vehicle itself weighing just a few ounces."

Complicating the question of how to deal with UAVs is the fact that there are so many different varieties of them. Some are essentially large model aircraft and weigh only a few ounces or pounds, while some military models are the size of a Boeing 737. Most are designed to sip fuel slowly, so they have long flight times and low airspeeds--meaning that they could be flying at the same altitude as a jet aircraft but at half the speed.

Egging on Congress and the FAA are manufacturers of UAVs, who see a lucrative market in domestic surveillance and aerial photography.

"It is quite easy to envision a future in which (UAVs), unaffected by pilot fatigue, provide 24-7 border and port surveillance to protect against terrorist intrusion," said Mike Heintz on behalf of the UNITE Alliance which represents Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. "Other examples are limited only by our imagination."
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:18:34 AM EDT
I hope those that want to round up all 12+ million Mexican illegals don't whine too much when these get used.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:31:26 AM EDT
Make them carry a standard transponder. Then I can buy a $1500 portable collision avoidance unit and tell where they are. It should take the crooks about a year to figure this out as well.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:33:04 AM EDT
Whew! Finally something to shoot down with the .50 cals!
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:39:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2006 8:39:41 AM EDT by Planerench]
.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:45:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By falaholic1:
Whew! Finally something to shoot down with the .50 cals!



ROFLMAO!!!!!!


Too damn funny
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:47:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dance:
Seems like Big Brother really will be watching you.




BB has been watching us for quite awhile now...
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:48:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dance:
While use on the border may be worthwhile, they will also use it to monitor citizens for "crimes". Seems like Big Brother really will be watching you.




I have had tweekers, and weed smokers telling me this for years Dance. Old news bro.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:50:55 AM EDT
Uh, they are already here.

Are you kidding? Local AFB got 20 last year.


Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:51:57 AM EDT
Can I be on the .50 cal shoot em down team? I don't do anything that is so bad as to warrent them sending out the drones on me. A good tin foil cap will keep there mind waves out.
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 8:57:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/31/2006 8:58:05 AM EDT by heron163]

Originally Posted By macman37:
I hope those that want to round up all 12+ million Mexican illegals don't whine too much when these get used.



you really think that is what they will be used for???

try spying on citizens...

they are being tested in Massachusetts - I don't know where the data is going
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 6:27:57 PM EDT
Link Posted: 3/31/2006 6:31:01 PM EDT
Hmm...........1st model Hunter-Killer from the Terminator?


Originally Posted By quijanos:
Uh, they are already here.

Are you kidding? Local AFB got 20 last year.


www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline/images/055_predator.jpg

Link Posted: 3/31/2006 6:34:58 PM EDT
"Skynet became self aware on................"
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 7:58:08 AM EDT
It will be pretty interesting when they have a sufficient number of the drones in the air coupled with GPS on all vehicles.
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 8:24:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By falaholic1:
Whew! Finally something to shoot down with the .50 cals!



Why do you think California made .50 cal illegally? Pilot program has probably already started there.
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 8:26:45 AM EDT
What difference does it make whether the pilot is in the air, or on the ground?
Why is this more scary?

Link Posted: 4/2/2006 9:17:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Cincinnatus:
What difference does it make whether the pilot is in the air, or on the ground?
Why is this more scary?




Because eventually there will be no pilot. Because a plane that is 3' round is easier and quieter to spy on people than an F-18 or prop plane.

These will not be used to hunt down illegals and terrorists, they aren't even trying to do that with the personnel they have on the ground. This will be used for drugs, guns, code violations, etc.

The .gov does nothing that isn't related to the gaining of assets, whether it's through contraband seizure or revenue generation through tickets and court cases. They could give a fuck about your safety or the integrity of our border.
Link Posted: 4/2/2006 9:59:58 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Planerench:
Make them carry a standard transponder. Then I can buy a $1500 portable collision avoidance unit and tell where they are. It should take the crooks about a year to figure this out as well.




And I suspect they WILL be forced to carry a standard transponder.

hehehehe



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