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Blimps Monitor Crowds At Sporting Events

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the inflatable-rights-violation dept.

Privacy 180

Death Metal tips news about how defense contractor Raytheon is adapting military-style surveillance packages for use aboard blimps at public events like the Indy 500. "Until recently, Raytheon's eye-in-the-sky technology was used in Afghanistan and Iraq to guard American military bases, working as airborne guards against any oncoming desert threat. Using infrared sensors and a map overlay not unlike Google Earth, the technology scans a large area, setting important landmarks (say, the perimeter of a military base), and constantly relays video clips back to a command center. If a gun fires or a bomb is detonated, the airships can detect the noise and focus the camera — all from a mighty-high 500 feet." Though the technology is expensive, Raytheon is shopping it around to police departments and other organizations that might want to keep an eye on large gatherings of people.

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FP (3, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321219)

Silly Raytheon.

There aren't going to be any terrorist attacks.

You just throw money at congressmen.

But seriously, this is horseshit. The only bad guys they catch will be the ones up in the nosebleed section sitting alone with their girlfriends who are discretely giving them head or playing "bouncy-horse" [break.com] on their laps.

Even if there are attacks (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321483)

If there are terrorist attacks in a stadium, I think video footage BEFORE the gun or bomb noise would typically be of greater interest than the footage after.

It'll take about 0.5 seconds for sound to travel the 500 feet up to the airships.

Thus all that fancy expensive tech might end up giving you just lower res pics before the camera zoomed and focused in and got videos of everybody except the culprits.

How expensive is that system going to be?

If it's in the millions and I was seriously going to be monitoring stuff, I'd rather spend the money on more hires cameras that are always running, than some fancy "pointing" system with fewer cameras.

Bang! Pop. Crash. (2, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321671)

Agreed. Also, anyone seriously criminal would just shoot at the blimp, possibly from miles outside the stadium.

Re:Bang! Pop. Crash. (2, Funny)

Plunky (929104) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322011)

Agreed. Also, anyone seriously criminal would just shoot at the blimp, possibly from miles outside the stadium.

Actually, bits of flaming blimp raining down on a crowd would be pretty terrifying in itself. Remind me to take a tinfoil umbrella.

Re:Bang! Pop. Crash. (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322207)

We're talking about a helium-filled blimp here, not a hydrogen-carrying zeppelin. Having someone toss a tarp over you isn't all that terrifying. More annoying, really. And why would be it flaming?

Re:Bang! Pop. Crash. (2, Interesting)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322195)

People shoot at the Goodyear blimp all the time. They usually don't find out about it until later, after the blimp lands. A bullet hole doesn't make a large enough hole for the helium to leak out quickly enough to be noticeable in the span of a flight that's only four or six hours or so.

That's bad in itself. (2, Funny)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322397)

"People shoot at the Goodyear blimp all the time."

It would be scary to ride in the blimp.

Re:Even if there are attacks (2, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321689)

So much of what is sold as Protection these days is all about catching people AFTER the fact.

How many total FAILS do we need to see that buses still get bombed and innocent Brazilians still get shot in the head no matter how many security cams you hang up?

The truth is that the real terrorists don't care if they are caught, and this type of situation will not prevent sneaking weapons or explosives into a stadium, or prevent someone half a mile away from dropping a 8 or 10 mortar rounds into an event before the police could roll a single squad car.

Further, a blimp in the air will set the event security staff at ease making it easier for nefarious individuals to accomplish their goals.

This is utterly pointless technology.

Re:Even if there are attacks (4, Funny)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322245)

...I think video footage BEFORE the gun or bomb noise would typically be of greater interest than the footage after.

It'll take about 0.5 seconds for sound to travel the 500 feet up to the airships.

Thus all that fancy expensive tech might end up giving you just lower res pics before the camera zoomed and focused in and got videos of everybody except the culprits.

but the after-footage will be useful for broadcasting over and over again, putting the general public into a state of panic, so politicians and corporations can exploit their fears and get away with even more wasteful spending.

[thread usurped for breaking news] (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321489)

The summary forgot to mention a shocking revalation from the article, where Lee Silvestre, vice president of mission innovation talked about their choice of operating system:

Linux just isn't ready for the blimp yet. It may be ready for the web servers nerds use to distribute TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average blimp operator isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface with map overlay and infrared sensors to check their terrorist threats with, especially not when they already have a Windows machine that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing our blimp software.

Now we know who's been trolling Slashdot!

Re:[thread usurped for breaking news] (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321677)

A troll, I think. At least, I don't see that text in the cited article [newsweek.com] .

Re:[thread usurped for breaking news] (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321913)

That's because you're an Apple fanboi and the RDF caused you to read it wrongly. That or he was joking, you choose.

Not quite right (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321851)

The only bad guys they catch will be the ones up in the nosebleed section sitting alone with their girlfriends...

I believe the scenario is Alfred Hitchcock's:

The crowd at a tennis match is following the action.

Back and forth, back and forth, their heads and bodies constantly on the move, bobbing, twisting, in unison with the play.

All but one....

The killer is in the crowd, but he is not truly part of the crowd, and that is a subtle and important distinction.

It can be a useful - practical - distinction.

Something you can see, something you can act on.

 

Re:Not quite right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28322055)

Oops, we shot him - but it turns out he wasn't a killer. He was just staring at some girl across the way. A bit rude maybe, but he really admired her form apparently. Oh well, maybe we'll get the killer some other way later.

Re:FP (1)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322041)

There most certainly will be attacks, as there are just too many asshats for there not to be.

The first line of defense is the same as anything else: someone calls the authorities when they see one shaping up. Then an investigation can do a "sting" and take them down, as was recently the case in New York.

The second line of defense is to stop attacks in progress if at all possible. That means armed responders and/or civillians nearby.

Cameras may be slightly helpful, but most likely the response will still be too slow and uncoordinated to be effectual, especially in a crowd.

The last line of defense is actually the most important: realize that we can occasionally be hit, and show some resilience. Do tell the story on the news, but don't go wall-to-wall with it for days or weeks. Have some nuts and keep living as normally as possible.

Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare from an individual or enemy who is too weak to directly attack.

Big Brother Overlords. (0, Offtopic)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321231)

I for one welcome our eye in the sky Big Brother (hey some of us actually like our big brothers) Overlords.

Re:Big Brother Overlords. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321261)

You stupid moron

Re:Big Brother Overlords. (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321567)

You are one of them authority questioning liberal manhating feminist anarchistic Stalinistic satanists aren't you.

Re:Big Brother Overlords. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321663)

Yes [ytmnd.com]
 
Now. In all seriousness, get a life so that you have something to lose and then DIE IN A FIRE.

Right to peaceably assemble (1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321249)

In Transformers 2, we are faced with the possible annihilation of the human race at the hands of the Decepticons. The scary thing is that these robot/aliens take on forms that make them blend in with our everyday environment. We don't see the threat because the threat is masquerading as part of our normal world.

I lolled (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321295)

I read this and facepalmed, then I looked at the byline:

BadAnalogyGuy

Ah, that explains everything.

these robot/aliens take on forms that make them blend in with our everyday environment.

Like a car, for example. Do you think you could work a car into your analogy somehow? This is Slashdot, after all.

Re:I lolled (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321359)

I don't think it's a bad analogy. Just make a few substitutions:

In modern America, we are faced with the possible oppression of the human race at the hands of the military industrial complex. The scary thing is that these agents take on forms that make them blend in with our everyday environment. We don't see the threat because the threat is masquerading as part of our normal world.

Fixed that for him.

Re:I lolled (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321715)

I read this and facepalmed,

So we know this AC doesn't wear glasses.

Irritating line from TFA (5, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321251)

"The airship is great because it doesn't have that Big Brother feel, or create feelings of invasiveness," says Lee Silvestre, vice president of mission innovation in Raytheon's Integrated Defense division.

Oh, okay. As long as we don't feel like we're being watched, everything's all right then.

Excuse me? Isn't the whole idea of a good spy not to make the targets feel like they're being watched? Is it okay for foreign agents to get copies of classified documents as long as we don't feel like they're doing it?

Re:Irritating line from TFA (5, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321297)

Blimps and airships have featured in many works of dystopian fiction. Especially alternative time-line "soviets won" type works.
So I think he could be wrong about that one.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321409)

Ahh, but blimps have also been used in utopian fiction, and in reality they have both previously been used for both good and bad purposes, just like airplanes, trains, cars, and video recording devices of all kinda.

Most peoples perception of whether a blimp is good or bad relies almost entirely on it's markings and previous experiences with those markings, the Goodyear blimps(s) have been used and seen as passive, non-threatening for years, how would you tell if it's a "good" or "bad" Goodyear Blimp? A smaller one, that's painted white with happy colored trim, even at a lower altitude, would likely be seen much the same, it's not attacking an killing people, it's just pleasantly floating there like some airborn whale.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321459)

Nobody ever suspects the Goodyear blimp

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321599)

Most peoples perception of whether a blimp is good or bad relies almost entirely on it's markings and previous experiences with those markings, the Goodyear blimps(s) have been used and seen as passive, non-threatening for years, how would you tell if it's a "good" or "bad" Goodyear Blimp?

I suddenly got this vision of an Evil Goodyear Blimp; black and red covered in spikes, with ominous smoke/fog trailing along behind it. Yup with that one you'd just know that it was up to no good.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321761)

Oh no it's the Badyear Glimps.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321921)

Glimp's sleeping.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322315)

Ha! I was picturing a blimp with Ron Paul's name on the side... XD

Re:Irritating line from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321379)

"Is it okay for foreign agents to get copies of classified documents as long as we don't feel like they're doing it?"

Isn't that what happens now with the Israeli government?

Re:Irritating line from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321439)

You are probably correct.

For example, I just got done taking a huge dumpster. But today's deuce was a bowl full of floaters. Now while the floaters exit the anus much easier, with the accompanying fanfare of the sound and smell of the trapped methane jetting out of my asshole during the whole experience, I found myself longing for the normal deuce -- a massive pile of brown reaching up from the depths of the bowl and, on special days, actually rising above the water like a volcanic island being born.

Airshit is okay, but it is overrated IMHO.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321815)

Yes, if they are Israelis

Re:Irritating line from TFA (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321965)

Isn't the whole idea of a good spy not to make the targets feel like they're being watched?

Actually, it can be quite productive to rattle the chains now and then. People make mistakes when they are spooked.

As long as we don't feel like we're being watched, everything's all right then.

There are times and places when no one really objects much to being watched - but will object to an show of force.

The blimp floating lazily overhead just isn't that intimidating.

Re:Irritating line from TFA (2, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322125)

You make a good point, but I'd like to chime in that one thing about big brother is precisely to make us feel watched. If you make people feel watched all the time, they will internalize the surveillance and they will watch themselves and you won't even have to watch them. Panopticon.

Stupid and shortsighted (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321267)

This technology is useless without an active targeting and response system.

Your enemies will think you are weak without an accompanying predator drone.

Re:Stupid and shortsighted (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321753)

And the drone would be cheaper.

Just getting a blimp to the site would cost more and require way more advanced planning and advanced notice.

Re:Stupid and shortsighted (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322227)

Just getting a blimp to the site would cost more and require way more advanced planning and advanced notice.

Huh? Blimps are already often at these sites. If you decide to hold a convention in Paris, and someone comes up with a plan involving putting cameras on the Eiffel Tower, how much money do you allocate to getting the Eiffel Tower to Paris?

I'm okay with surveillance (5, Insightful)

MLS100 (1073958) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321279)

As long as I don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

The problem is in the abuse of this, like the footage that came out of the police using their night surveillance equipment to spy on individuals having an evening with a lady in their penthouse.

So as long as abuse is monitored and actively discouraged, what's wrong with being watched while you're in public?

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321491)

[quote]As long as I don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy.[/quote]Simply because you "don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy" doesn't mean that this type of surveylence is reasonable.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321611)

Why not? Do you think someone is going to be doing something they don't want people to see while they're at a baseball game?

What makes you think this will have a negative impact on anyone in the crowd?

I guess maybe you might be worried about false positives (e.g. toy guns or whatever), but false positives tend to be resolved easily.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321739)

I guess maybe you might be worried about false positives (e.g. toy guns or whatever), but false positives tend to be resolved easily.

If by easily you mean they are arrested and searched and spend 3 - 4 months or more fighting with a legal system that doesn't want to let go because that would mean admitting they made a dumb mistake?

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321887)

Do you think someone is going to be doing something they don't want people to see while they're at a baseball game?

Marge: Children, tell me when your father stops scratching himself. (long pause) Kids?
Bart: We will, mom.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28322021)

As long as I don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Since I live in a free society, I reasonably expect that I wont be subjected to wholesale surveillance simply because I am in public.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322065)

The issue goes far beyond the matter of reasonable expectation of privacy. Raytheon's newest totalitarian toy serves to gather information, information that can be stored, analysed and cross-referenced with other sources. That means that when someone employs Raytheon's new toy, along with other similar systems, that someone is now able to register everything you do in public. That means where you go, who you go with, how much time you spent in a place, who you talked to... That someone is putting himself in a position where he knows everything there is to know about you. To put it in other words, that person is placing himself in a position of power over you. And why exactly should someone have that power over yourself?

Let's just put it this way. If those blimps were deployed in the 70s throughout the former soviet union then nowadays we would be talking about those blimps as an example of evil totalitarian practices that were simply unacceptable in the free world.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322211)

Maybe there'll be a great upheaval of some sort and some crazy privacy zealots will gain control over the country and all the data and then they will line you anti-privacy people against the wall and shoot you? That's why you need privacy, to protect you from the crazy privacy zealots.

Re:I'm okay with surveillance (2, Insightful)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322275)

You're out in public someplace, and you notice someone staring at you. Creepy! You move a little bit and he follows you with his eyes. Scary! You walk away, hoping he doesn't follow you... then you realize he is in a blimp 500ft in the sky and there is nowhere to hide. And he is also taking video, calling up your DMV records, and logging your location for the FBI. Time to buy a shoulder-fired rocket!

This is great! (3, Funny)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321283)

Considering the fact that we've had so many problems with stadium slaughterings and bombings.

oh wait... i ate too much scramby eggs w/ sarcasm on the side.

Lol @ excessive response to lesser problems.

Stadium mayhem (0, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321365)

Re:Stadium mayhem (2, Insightful)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321553)

Seriously though, in the entire history of modern stadiums, is there really enough of a threat to warrant constant surveillance of that kind? How many millions of people go to stadiums each year for games and races, and how many are killed, blown up, stabbed, or raped, 0.01%?... if that? And are these blimps really going to prevent that from happening again? I doubt it.

The eye-witnesses combined with the usual surveillance (guards, cameras, at the gates, ticket centers, etc) is likely quite sufficient in tracking anyone who blows something up or kills someone, and probably even better at tracking down people who may have planted something there days or weeks beforehand when the blimp wasn't even there.

Besides, your example is excluded almost entirely from this scenario, that wasn't a normal event, it was a large gathering of people essentially forced to that location which just happened to be a stadium, in a rather intense point of time, the same sort of stuff would have happened no matter where they were, and the military and whatever else was already involved and would have brought their own surveillance equipement, not called in the survaces of some private blimp.

Re:Stadium mayhem (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321809)

You DO KNOW that the Superdome rumors were ALL proven false don't you?

And you DO KNOW it has a DOME, rendering blimps ineffective, don't you?

Re:This is great! (5, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321557)

Lol @ excessive response to lesser problems.

Something must be done to combat terrorism.
This is something.
Therefore, we must do this.

Re:This is great! (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322043)

Oh noeess!! There's a terrorist in the stadium!!

meanwhile, the 2,039 cheeseburgers they sold during the show will probably lead to more loss of life...

haha. Fear for terrorists just feeds the fire (aka 'terrorized'), and statistically I'm a bit more worried about day to day life killing me than a terrorist. Hell, we're not done worrying about pinko commies! They're gonna eat our babies!

Oops (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321293)

When I read the title, I thought this was about donut-eating cops.

Never mind.

People being monitored!? (4, Funny)

Karganeth (1017580) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321325)

Using traditional slashdot logic, I have arrived at the conclusion that this must be bad... somehow.

So much for those rooftop romances (1)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321343)

Then again, haven't they always had those "weather satellites"?

Interesting? (1)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321367)

Wonder how many of these were flying over the skies of Pittsburgh and Detroit last night?

not a privacy issue (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321373)

The fact that this is in yro makes it sound like someone thought it would be a privacy issue, but I don't see why. The idea is to use it on crowds of people at sports events, etc., where they don't have any expectation of privacy. Viewing from 500 feet and at a high angle, with a field of view wide enough to take in the whole crowd, they're not going to be able to identify individuals. They propose zooming in to a particular region if there are gunshots or something, and maybe then, if the angle is appropriate, they could get some kind of view of an individual's face, although it seems unlikely. What makes surveillance like this scary is if it (a) goes into places where you do have an expectation of privacy (like the Obama administration's plans to read email that crosses international borders), (b) is ubiquitous (as it is in the UK), (c) raises the prospect of aggregating data in creepy ways (like being denied health insurance because you buy too much vodka with your preferred customer card at Albertson's), or (d) forces us to take the government's word that it isn't going to be used more than they said (like the Bush administration's wiretaps). The blimp concept doesn't seem to lend itself to any of these.

Re:not a privacy issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321533)

You live in California, don't you? :') (That is the emoticon for "tears of joy", by the way.)

Re:not a privacy issue (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321597)

The idea is to use it on crowds of people at sports events, etc

The problem isn't the sporting event, it's the "etc."

These things are expensive. They're not going to sit there just for Superbowl Sunday or whatever. They'll be used for as much surveillance as they can get away with. Whether it's a good idea or not. Think 'mission creep'.

Re:not a privacy issue (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322099)

<quote><blockquote><div><p>The idea is to use it on crowds of people at sports events, etc</p></div></blockquote><p>
The problem isn't the sporting event, it's the "etc."

These things are expensive. They're not going to sit there just for Superbowl Sunday or whatever. They'll be used for as much surveillance as they can get away with. Whether it's a good idea or not. Think 'mission creep'.</p></quote>

Exactly. It reminds me how all that "anti-terrorist" legislation that was passed in the US was suddenly used to monitor and hunt down all those anti-war and WTO protesters. Somehow these tools find themselves not being used against their announced targets, the evil doers and axis of evil characters, and are instead used to pacify those pesky citizens in the home front.

Re:not a privacy issue (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322361)

>>The idea is to use it on crowds of people at sports events, etc

>These things are expensive. They're not going to sit there just for Superbowl Sunday or whatever. They'll be used for as much surveillance as they can get away with. Whether it's a good idea or not. Think 'mission creep'.

The slippery slope is always something to worry about. But I'd like to hear a realistic description of how that would work here. Its overhead point of view, hundreds of feet up, is going to give it mostly blurry shots of the tops of people's heads, with the line of sight often blocked by buildings. Suppose I wanted to use this thing for Maximum Evil. What exactly would I do?

To me, it seems inherently less worrisome than the pervasive surveillance cameras on the streets in many places in the UK. For one thing, it's going to be pretty obvious that there's a blimp in the sky, whereas it's pretty easy to miss the fact that there's a surveillance camera mounted high up on a building. There's the whole creepy thing in the UK with the voice from the video camera scolding you for spitting on the sidewalk; that can't be done with the blimp, either.

Re:not a privacy issue (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321629)

The problem is, what do they do with it the other 300 plus days that this is not used for an outside sporting event ? .. Of course they use it.. perhaps under the pretext of "training",. but it would be used, and abused you can count on it.

Surveillance isn't ubiquitous in the UK (2, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321737)

Surveillance isn't ubiquitous in the UK.

Not unless you're one of those folks who think UK=England, and England=London. Of which there are quite a few.

(Actually I've never quite understood why people mix up the UK and England as being synonymous, any ideas?)

Mind you I accept there is too much surveillance over here.

Re:Surveillance isn't ubiquitous in the UK (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322253)

It's not so much mixing up and emphasis on what's important and what's not. And it's not just ignorance of the country or being from a far off land. I'm from Minnesota, and I have a strong tendency to think in terms of Minnesota="The Twin Cities". After all, Minnesota consists of the Twin Cities and... well... nothing much worth noting. XD

KIDDING! Kinda...

Re:not a privacy issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321867)

Until corps start buying the footage with facial recognition and compare it to those that have called in for the day.

Black Sunday? (1)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321377)

There was a book with a movie followup about putting a bomb in a blimp over the super bowl.

Looks like it just got easier to do that.
Who watches the watchers?

Re:Black Sunday? (1)

easyTree (1042254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321633)

we do?

Good old Raytheon (5, Insightful)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321417)

I wonder if they offer cool tech for us regular citizens to watch over the authorities. Kinda doubt it.

Re:Good old Raytheon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321507)

They don't need to, it already exists. It's called a ballot. Know it, use it, love it.

I just DESTROYED YOU!!! YOU GOT PNWED BITCH!

Re:Good old Raytheon (2, Insightful)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321535)

:-) You're absolutely right. Everything they have, we handed to them on a silver platter.

Peace out, dogg

Re:Good old Raytheon (1)

JudgeSlash (823985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321539)

Are there American laws regarding sousveillance? What would be the ramifications to a citizen who flew a ROV Blimp with camera gear and either filmed the other blimp or filmed the crowd in the stadium in the same fashion?

Re:Good old Raytheon (2, Insightful)

gringofrijolero (1489395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321877)

Laws only apply to the bottom 90% of the population. That's the way we like it, as noted in the AC's reply. Air traffic rules would probably preclude any "non-official" flights over major events at low altitude. Ramifications would include lost of their toy and probably a fine.

Re:Good old Raytheon (2, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321721)

There are several open UAV platforms out there now, including planes, helicopters, and quadrocopters. Any sizable and stable remote controlled aircraft is a candidate, but the quadrocopters are probably your best bet for video surveillance.

Re:Good old Raytheon (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321893)

How dare you ask such a thing citizen, please come with us.

Raytheon is a For-Profit Corp. No Surprise Here! (1)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321433)

Raytheon is a for-profit corporation in a country where everything is for sale including the country. They are just trying to make a profit off of the pop-fear of domestic terrorism.

Try to change the culture of "profit first" above anything else and educate the masses if you want to never see programs like this again.

What happens when you shoot the blimp? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321469)

Doesn't this make the blimp an obvious target for anybody who really wants to do mischief?

Re:What happens when you shoot the blimp? (1)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321709)

Exactly - so their buddy sits outside the stadium and shoots it with a WW2 rifle first... Goodbye blimp!

Re:What happens when you shoot the blimp? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322283)

Exactly - so their buddy sits outside the stadium and shoots it with a WW2 rifle first... Goodbye blimp!

People do this all the time, actually. It's a kinda scummy commentary on humanity how often they find bullet holes in blimps. It should be noted they usually find them long after the blimp has landed. A bullet hole isn't very big compared to a blimp. Not enough helium leaks out during a several hour flight for this to even be noticeable. You have to pump a lot of machine gun rounds into one before it really starts to loose buoyancy is a noticeable way. And it'll be a very, very easily survivable crash. More a slow sinking to the ground...

Re:What happens when you shoot the blimp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321717)

Posting as AC for obvious reasons. An SA-7 or two would make short work of it. (That's provided the blimp doesn't spot the gunners first.)

/ ironic captcha: "freest"

"Great Squad Leader in the Sky" syndrome (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321471)

Probably a bad idea. This is known in the military as the "Great Squad Leader in the Sky" syndrome (a phrase coined by David Hackworth, one of the greats of small-unit combat), and has been since Vietnam. Leadership from a helicopter overlooking a combat zone sounded like a great idea; at last, the commander could see everything. In practice, it works very badly.

Piping vast amounts of imagery back to a command center is popular with commanders and politicians, but not with grunts. It's useful for finding enemy activity, but not much help once the enemy has been engaged.

It turns out that the technology the people on the ground really like is small robots. Sending in a robot first in urban warfare is very popular with the troops. Nobody likes going into a possible ambush or booby trap several times a day. Eventually the odds catch up with you.

Re:"Great Squad Leader in the Sky" syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321545)

How do preferred urban warfare tactics at all affect whether surveillance at sporting events is a good thing?

Re:"Great Squad Leader in the Sky" syndrome (1)

tuxedobob (582913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322047)

I think you're thinking about it from a wartime point of view. Ideally, if you go to, say, a NASCAR race, you're hoping somebody won't start opening with gunfire or blowing stuff up. You're looking for any activity in a sea of non-activity, and it sounds like this is well-adapted to the purpose.

I don't imagine they'll use it for something as simple as a car race, but I could see some potential application for very high-profile events like the Super Bowl or New Year's Eve in New York City.

Should have been kept quiet? (1)

awarrenfells (1289658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321559)

Call me silly, but I think something like this would have been far more effective if they had just shut up about it. I mean, I am not all for big brother, but if they are gonna do it, it's going to be far more effective if no one knows about it.

Re:Should have been kept quiet? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321935)

Call me silly, but I think something like this would have been far more effective if they had just shut up about it.

Call me paranoid, but there have been blimps flown over sporting events for a long time, now.

Re:Should have been kept quiet? (1)

awarrenfells (1289658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322159)

Yes, the blimps have been there for a long time, but little suspicion has been drawn about them until now. They were just camera platforms for the game. Now they are full surveillance packages. Had they just inserted them quietly, I think it would have been more effective. Oh, but here I am assuming you know anything about intelligence gathering and tactics. Silly me. Though, the tricky part them becomes determining which ones have the package, and which ones do not. Anyways, I think you should understand the point of the reply before being stupid. :P

Re:Should have been kept quiet? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322299)

Pot calling the kettle black here?

Perhaps it would be more effective if no one knows about it. Meanwhile, back in the real world where that's not even remotely realistically possible, particularly when the blimps in question are civilian vehicles being operated by civilians for commercial purposes, almost invariably involved in *drawing attention to* the airship...

Re:Should have been kept quiet? (1)

awarrenfells (1289658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322365)

You know, this is true. I had not considered the status of the pilots. But, it was not the attention to the airship that I was referring to, but what was contained within.

My whole point is that "intelligence" programs are generally more effective when no one knows about them.

Look! Over there! (4, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321635)

"If a gun fires or a bomb is detonated, the airships can detect the noise and focus the camera."

Note to self: if ever wanting to defeat the system, remotely or have a friend, set off a string of fire crackers somewhere else while I carry on unwatched.

"Though the technology is expensive, Raytheon is..." hoping customers won't be put off by a system that falls for the equivalent of "Look! Elvis!"?

Re:Look! Over there! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321849)

These days it is possible to use audio fingerprinting and multiple semi-directional microphones to detect the heading and distance to a shooter, and even the type of weapon and ammunition (within certain parameters.) I don't know for sure that Raytheon will put anything like that into this package, but they are experts in remote sensing.

Re:Look! Over there! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28322151)

NJ has had a gun shot detection system in place for a little while. Recently it picked up on a shooting where a little kid was shot and before 911 could be called police were on the way. Sometimes violence just happens it isn't planned out.

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/new_jersey_police_herald_gunsh.html

I propose we (1)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321653)

Combine this technology with the techniques used in the DIY Arduino Blimp Drone project discussed here before, add some offensive capabilities, and create our own surveillance droids [wikia.com] to you know, keep the neighbor's kids off our lawn.

unconstitutional, also I hate J.K. Rowling (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321871)

Where in the constitution does it say they're allowed to spy on you with a Zeppelin while you're watching a football game.

NOWHERE, that's where!

Next they'll be putting cameras in your bathroom, just in case.

the technology is expensive (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28321879)

So ? They will just raise taxes to pay for it. Remember folks, its 'for the children'.

What do you guys do in real life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321891)

Hey nimrods, blimps use helium which is NOT combustible. But they do hide the black helicopters flying above them. Don't worry, that's just the Obamas going to NYC, or Paris or Las Vegas.
Get a life!!

Locked On Blimp: +1, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28321941)

waiting for interception command [youtube.com] .

Yours In Avionics,
Kilgore Trout

Bravo the Military Industrial Complex! (3, Funny)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322031)

Using high-tech blimps to spy on sporting crowds is a fantastic idea to fill the gap until our intelligence services work out some way to get their own people into the crowds of these events, but to do that they would need to crack the intelligence crown jewels and figure out how and when these events will be held. It's great the things that government and the military industrial concept can achieve that a lesser mind might be tempted to do on the cheap.

And to the NSA guy sneering at this post, why aren't you doing something about bin Laden instead? He's on the Afgani-Pakistan border. Everyone knows it. The Daily Show event did a live cross from there. Or don't you guys get cable?

Luckily... (2, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322291)

... it's illegal in the US to fly an airship less than 1000 feet above a gathering of people, or less than 1000 feet above the highest obstacle within 2000 lateral feet of the airship.

There is no privacy at a preannounced public event (1)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28322369)

Like a football game or political rally, you can be expected to be monitored by police, event security and the media.

blimps have been at football games with cameras for 49 years. The idea of using blimps for anti-terrorism purposes is not scary nor is it that big of a news story.

 

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