Category Archives: Drones

This is the week that the drone surveillance state became real

Affordable consumer technology has made surveillance cheap and commoditized AI software has made it automatic.

Those two trends merged this week, when drone manufacturer DJI partnered June 5 with Axon, the company that makes Taser weapons and police body cameras, to sell drones to local police departments around the United States. Now, not only do local police have access to drones, but footage from those flying cameras will be automatically analyzed by AI systems not disclosed to the public.


Sacramento Residents Buzzed Over Government Drone Snooping on Community

Fret not, Californians, that’s not ET, it’s a security drone from the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA), and it’s not on the lookout for undrawn curtains, but rather illegal dumping or trespassing on two local communities.

Well sure, you can trust the California government.

And SHRA is just a little too close to you-know-what for me.


Connecticut Set To Become First State To Allow Deadly Police Drones

Connecticut could become the first US state to allow police to use drones equipped with deadly weapons if a bill opposed by civil libertarians becomes law. The bill, which was approved overwhelmingly by the state legislature’s judiciary committee on Wednesday, would ban so-called weaponized drones in the state but exempts police and other agencies involved in law enforcement, the AP reported. The legislation was introduced as a complete ban on weaponized drones but just before the committee vote it was amended to exclude police from the restriction.


ISIS Makes Everyone Dress The Same To Deter US Drone Strikes

The garb includes flowy pants and long shirts, a uniform worn by ISIS members both in Iraq and Syria. Forcing the men to wear the uniform will complicate efforts to distinguish between civilians and combatants.

The move is just one in a series of moves by the terror group designed to deter U.S. operations by means of civilians trapped inside the city. The group has now encircled the entire city of Raqqa with landmines and checkpoints, and is also forcing residents to camp out in tents in the middle of the street.


L.A. Sheriff’s Department to begin using drones to respond to bomb threats, hostage crises

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Thursday that his agency will begin deploying an unmanned aerial device to aid deputies responding to arson scenes, suspected bombs and hostage situations, but he promised the device would not be used to surveil residents.

Sure we can trust the LA police department – they’ve always operated in the best interests of the public before, haven’t they?


Cyber, Drones, and the Private Sector: Challenges for the Next Administration

As the military prepares for the transition to the next administration, the three service secretaries on Monday detailed their concerns about the challenges posed by weaponized drones, cyber threats, and working with the private sector.

The civilian officials told a gathering hosted by the Center for a New American Security that new technologies and working within severe budget constraints will also be major issues for the next president, as will the major threats of terrorism and foreign powers like Russia, China, and North Korea.

One area that needs to be swiftly addressed by the new administration is the threat from drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, that are weaponized. Several recent incidents in Iraq and Syria of cheap, small drones with explosives placed on them have proven the damage they can do, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said, pointing to “a week or two ago there was a situation – four killed, not U.S. citizens — from one of these small unmanned systems. So it is a problem.” And earlier this month, an ISIS-linked drone rigged with explosives killed two Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers and injured two French military personnel in Iraq.


A police drone zapping suspects with a stun gun? It may be coming


The day when police zap suspects from the sky with drones carrying stun guns may be nearing.

Taser International Inc., known for its stun guns and body cameras, is exploring the concept of a drone armed with a stun gun for use by police. This week, the company held discussions with police officials about such a device during a law-enforcement conference here.