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US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the do-you-have-what-it-takes? dept.

Government 92

coondoggie writes "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the results of the program — called the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public, which, considering how involved the actual public may be with these drones is unfortunate."

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The Robotic Aircraft for Public Effortless Safety (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484653)

Fixed that for you.

Re:The Robotic Aircraft for Public Effortless Safe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485157)

niggers are like drones but drones is smarter

RAPS??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484657)

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaah boooooooooooyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

RoboCop? (4, Funny)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#41484669)

Can't be much more than a decade away, at this rate...

Re:RoboCop? (1)

gagol (583737) | about 2 years ago | (#41484889)

Have you seen THX1138?

Re:RoboCop? (2)

davester666 (731373) | about 2 years ago | (#41485483)

They are just looking to hire more drones to replace the ones they fire for stealing peoples stuff or transporting/letting contraband go through security checkpoints.

Of course, they only get fairly stupid people that don't understand that being called a 'drone' is an insult applying for jobs.

Re:RoboCop? (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41486473)

Have you seen THX1138?

Don't have to - you can hear it from a mile away...

Re:RoboCop? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41484895)

Can't be much more than a decade away, at this rate...

The very idea! If you'll remember, Robocop was the internally-disliked less profitable alternative to the dual use ED-209, and was even nominally under the jurisdiction of a civilian police force that he ends up saving from privatization... He even uses nonlethal force once or twice.

I, um, don't think that's exactly the trajectory that our use of attack robots is on.

Today's funniest anti-Romney video (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484673)

I laughed pretty hard at this. [youtube.com] WAKE THE FUCK UP!

Didn't read the summary (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41484703)

US Department of Homeland Security Looking For a Few Good Drones

Try the Phandroid Forums.

Re:Didn't read the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484719)

Didn't read the summary

Hell, I didn't even read this story's headline!

Re:Didn't read the summary (2)

fisted (2295862) | about 2 years ago | (#41484753)

Dude, i didn't even /comment/ the story. wait.

Re:Didn't read the summary (2)

flaming error (1041742) | about 2 years ago | (#41484911)

Dude, I don't even comment my work.

But if I were to comment on this story, I think my comment would be that I can't make heads or tails of this sentence:

In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the program's results of the ironically named program - The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) - will remain unavailable to the public, which considering how involved the actual public may be with these drones is shall we say, unfortunate.

I think Samzenpus has been mixing his Ritalin with tequila.

Re:Didn't read the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486485)

DHS wants to keep information about their RAPES away from the public, despite the public being on the recieving end.

Duh, of course it's not available (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484735)

The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public

But of course, how foolish to assume otherwise. Only corporate whores (large defense contractors) who can afford to lobby and make enormous contributions to PACs and election campaigns would be entitled to such.

Re:Duh, of course it's not available (2)

kermidge (2221646) | about 2 years ago | (#41484831)

Agreed.

"In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows...."

Why? Did the Stasi publish the results of its field tests?

Only raised brows will be from those somehow thinking otherwise.

Re:Duh, of course it's not available (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#41484905)

The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public

Unless they've dealt with that (alleged) GPS spoofing issue, the RAPS may also be available to anyone who transmits a series of specially formatted requests from a GPS simulator unit...

Re:Duh, of course it's not available (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 years ago | (#41484987)

I can't see why GPS is spoofable. It should be the poster child for public/private key encryption.

SKYNET (1)

deodiaus2 (980169) | about 2 years ago | (#41484751)

Security Knowledge __ Electronic _

Re:SKYNET (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485281)

Not, Twits...
  ie: Security via Knowledge, Not Electronic Twits

Basically paraphrasing any generic hacker manefesto.

Lust For Terror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484757)

Our home-grown Terrorist Organization chartered with terrorizing the non-Federal Governmental citizens of the United States of America, Obama's most beloved agency, gets greedy.

I'll probably be dead before they get too popular. (2)

AndyKron (937105) | about 2 years ago | (#41484793)

The best thing about all this is I'll probably be dead from old age before they get too popular. Is this really what We the People want? I sure as fuck don't.

Re:I'll probably be dead before they get too popul (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#41484975)

A remarkable number of people completely trust their government. I'm still not sure who these strange folks are, but I regularly get the argument (for example) that the thoroughly benevolent and just TSA is using naked body scanners not to enrich Michael Chertoff or give agents cheap thrills but to protect us from terrorism (number of terrorists caught using these scanners: 0).

Re:I'll probably be dead before they get too popul (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 2 years ago | (#41485827)

Are you kidding? With the rate that they've been buying drones (not to mention local police departments and the military), the only way you'll be dead before they "get too popular" is if you're already in your mid 70s.

And, like the best of DHS to date, these will be used to terrorize evil teenagers engaging in low-level copyright infringement and people exercising their right to assemble and protest.

A better acronym (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484817)

Robotic Aircraft for the Public's Enhanced Safety (RAPES). Just like these agencies do to civil liberties.

Re:A better acronym (5, Funny)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41485501)

Remotely Assisted Police State

Re:A better acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486697)

Robotic Aircraft for Public Endangerment

Re:A better acronym (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41495073)

Robot-Assisted Police Eavesdropping Squadron (RAPES)

The purpose of the police is to raise revenue and encourage obedience of the law. Plus choosing who to punish when the law is disobeyed.

Re:A better acronym (1)

tofarr (2467788) | about 2 years ago | (#41486211)

Wish I had mod points...

Re:A better acronym (2)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41487471)

Have another acronym in the meantime: Ratified Automaton Procuring Subservience -- or -- Ritual Abuse of Power by State

Regarding mod points, I've never had one in all my time on /.

Unavailable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484823)

So, if my company already builds a drone that is more capable than anything my competitors can offer, but I already market and sell it to the public, I will be disqualified from participating? Or I will have to withdraw my product from my existing markers?

What a shame. But my overseas markets will more than make up for the small amount of business I could hope to see from DHS.

Re:Unavailable? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41485385)

But my overseas markets will more than make up for the small amount of business I could hope to see from DHS.

In that case, you may well get the business from DHS.

It just won't be quite how you were hoping.

Strat

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (4, Funny)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 2 years ago | (#41484851)

Stinger. [wikipedia.org]

For when ye granpappy's olde side-by-side 12-gauge isn't enough.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (4, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 2 years ago | (#41484867)

Unit cost: $38,000

A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 2 years ago | (#41484907)

A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

Weren't we giving these away not too long ago to certain people under the guise of helping them fight the Big Bad Bear? I doubt those people paid MSRP for them.

OK, so it was long ago.. man, time flies.

Didn't we get some of those back recently, pointy-end first?

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41485425)

A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

Weren't we giving these away not too long ago to certain people under the guise of helping them fight the Big Bad Bear? I doubt those people paid MSRP for them.

OK, so it was long ago.. man, time flies.

Didn't we get some of those back recently, pointy-end first?

The American taxpayer still had to buy the damned things. The whole Afghan-Soviet war cost us what, a couple billion when it was all in? And of course we never *admitted* to it, either.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486495)

Didn't we get some of those back recently, pointy-end first?

Nah, the battery backed SRAM gets wiped after a few years when the internal battery dies. What happened was some Afghans sold the ones we gave them to Pakistan who reverse engineered it and started manufacturing knock-offs.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 2 years ago | (#41484923)

A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

Just thought of this... sshhhhh, don't give DHS any more ideas -- model rocketeers into the really big stuff were being hounded by Ashcroft's Asshat Brigade out of fear that someone could.. build something like a Stinger. Or worse. Out of commonly-available parts.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41485643)

Unit cost: $38,000

A little too rich for my blood. Someone come up with a DIY version and put it on kickstarter. As long as you have put an Arduino in there it'll sell like hotcakes.

Well, something like the Qassam rocket is DIY-able, but it's unguided, wildly inaccurate, and not good for much but terrorist attacks against a population center.

Probably the best bet would be a RC quad-rotor carrying Semtex for a practical DIY guided weapon. Range, speed, and altitude would be limited, ditto the practical carrying capacity.

Strat

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

judoguy (534886) | about 2 years ago | (#41487443)

You're all over thinking this. A good deer rifle will be more than good enough. Hi powered and accurate. Vastly cheaper than the drones.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 2 years ago | (#41492287)

You're all over thinking this. A good deer rifle will be more than good enough. Hi powered and accurate. Vastly cheaper than the drones.

The problem is that neither a quadrotor nor a hunting rifle are effective at 5,000-7,000 feet altitude up to 10,000-17,000 feet altitude.

You need something like these at the very least:

http://ww2total.com/worldwar2/weapons-WW2/artillery/self-propelled-guns/allies/usa/M16_AA-Halftruck/M16_AA-Halftrack-en.htm [ww2total.com]

http://ww2total.com/WW2/Weapons/Artillery/Guns/German/Flak-38/20mm-Flakvierling-38.htm [ww2total.com]

Or like this:

http://ww2total.com/WW2/Weapons/Artillery/Guns/German/Flak-36/88mm-Flak.htm [ww2total.com]

However, one could encounter slight delays regarding permits to have one parked beside your bass boat trailer.

Strat

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

radtea (464814) | about 2 years ago | (#41490487)

Probably the best bet would be a RC quad-rotor carrying Semtex for a practical DIY guided weapon. Range, speed, and altitude would be limited, ditto the practical carrying capacity.

10th-scale modelers would probably suggest a few other alternatives. This has been possible since the early 90's, and Donald Kingsbury's "The Moon Goddess and the Son"--which was published in the mid-80's--introduced the idea (if it was new even then) of a homebuilt guided (cruise) missile. He had MIT students doing it, if memory serves, but the threshold for entry has gotten a LOT lower since then.

The curious thing is that no one has actually done this, and it gives me hope that anyone smart enough to do so is also smart enough to NOT do so.

Now if we could only ensure that the people smart enough to quote on the DHS proposal are also smart enough to ignore it as a waste of their precious time. You only get so many years on this planet, and to blow them on obsolete technologies of control in service to pre-modern ideologies would be really sad.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41484921)

Drug interdiction helicopters were being shot down in the late 1990s with .50 BMG rifles and other large calibers in Southern Ky, Northern Tn. Drones are a smaller target but if they are low enough and enough lead is flung at them they'll keep them high enough to reduce their effectiveness.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41485037)

That is an even better acronym. it is a MANPADS Man-Portable Air-Defense System.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

TigerPlish (174064) | about 2 years ago | (#41485631)

That is an even better acronym. it is a MANPADS Man-Portable Air-Defense System.

MANPADS brings forth images of combating... anal leakage.

*shrug* Whoever came up with that deusy of an acronym should have their head examined.. "MANPAD.. for when things get un-Dependable!"

Aw what the hell do I know about comedy, it's o' dark thirty and I'm still up... x.x

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1, Interesting)

JockTroll (996521) | about 2 years ago | (#41485079)

Why do some people always have to go for the most complicated solution? Drones must be piloted, target the operators. Screwdriver through eyesocket, problem solved. Takes time and money to train them. Target their families as well. Can't do your job well when you don't know how your little daughter is doing, or where she is. Intimidation works both ways, they can't protect them all, it's antieconomical.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#41485207)

And for what reason why do you think you would need that?

Ohh, I see *á--eh* evil government. Carry on. Don't forget to take your meds :) Seriously, this is getting old. Geeks used to know better than this.

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (2)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#41485337)

Because -our- government would never abuse these drones to spy on innocent Americans, or use them for crowd control, or, even, shoot at Americans placed on some anti-terrorist list of targets. Never happen, right...?

Re:The Right to Keep and Bear Arms (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41486241)

For when ye granpappy's olde side-by-side 12-gauge isn't enough.

There is 10-gauge, you know - might come in handy on those occasions when your local blackmarket arms dealer just won't pick up the phone...

Reaper Drones anyone? (1)

Mistakill (965922) | about 2 years ago | (#41484853)

I wouldn't bet against it

Re:Reaper Drones anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41487861)

For this application, Pred-A would make more sense.

What's in a name? (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 2 years ago | (#41484893)

(TAARREEO) Turrets Armed Against Roving Robotic Espionage with Exploding Ordinance.

RAPS- comforting name (5, Insightful)

swell (195815) | about 2 years ago | (#41484957)

"Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS)"

Ah, "Public Safety"! Can't you just see it now? Robot helicopters intelligently lifting flood victims from rooftops, rescuing kittens from treetops, spraying killer bee swarms with sleep inducing chemicals. They'll come to the aid of lost hikers, climbers and avalanche victims. They will patrol for lost boaters and surveil and protect tagged endangered species from predators- human or other. Their eye in the sky will alert emergency services of serious auto accidents, fires, or weather conditions. They will survey bridge structures and other critical infrastructure for damage, weakness and risk of failure. Their sensors will give us early warning of radiation leaks, chemical spills, dangerous pollutants, and excess allergens.

They will be our Public Safety angel!
I'm sure this is what our beneficent government has in mind, right?

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#41485155)

And there are indications that they won't do that because of....?

I understand, you are being sarcastic because you just want to sound cool and get some cheap mod points, but honestly, why they couldn't do all these things?

Ahhh, someone from secret government agency can use them for their devil ways. Well, they can use *anything* for their evil secret ways already, some of them much more effective than flying drones.

All tech are tools - they can be used for good or for bad. I don't see how flying drones would hurt, if all flying safety protocols are in place and working. If there are technical issues - let's talk about them. Please leave 'omg there's drone out there to bomb me in my homeland' discussion out of this, because, well, it won't work.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485169)

Please leave 'omg there's drone out there to bomb me in my homeland' discussion out of this, because, well, it won't work.

You don't think that we should consider the dangers of drones before deploying them?

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

Pecisk (688001) | about 2 years ago | (#41485193)

Technical dangers or the fact that evil people can use tech for evil ways?

First one yes, second one no, because then you don't differ from those in Tea Party. You are just afraid of progress (in neutral sense) as they are, you just have "better" arguments why not do it.

If we would have this talk about creation of Internet, you would be against it - because it's military, everyone uses it, everyone's life can be monitored (that's not entirely true), etc.

It's typical alarmist attitude. Drones has long way to become safe technically. Let's discuss about that.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485293)

"You are just afraid of progress!" Said the man and jumped to his death.

All progress is not good. Its only good if you progress in the right direction. Inventing guns was good progress; putting them in the hads of the children on my block and starting wars were not. Inventing drones were good progress (which has already been done) Is using them for constant surveillance of the civilian population good progress? I am not so sure....

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | about 2 years ago | (#41486057)

From what I understand Predator drones provide public safety, but it always seems to add it thousands of miles from where deployed.



B-)

Re:RAPS- comforting name (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41485465)

All tech are tools - they can be used for good or for bad. I don't see how flying drones would hurt, if all flying safety protocols are in place and working. If there are technical issues - let's talk about them. Please leave 'omg there's drone out there to bomb me in my homeland' discussion out of this, because, well, it won't work.

Agreed, tech is just tools and toys. Problem is, this tech is going to be controlled by people raised on Nintendo warfare, supervised by people with no oversight and no possibility of dismissal by ballot box. It's not the tech we're worried about, it's the people behind the tech that we worry about. Even if they're a bunch of unicorn huggers when this gets deployed, who's to say the next bunch won't be unicorn barbequers? What guarantee do we have of that? Hell, we have problems making sure the Federal alphabet agencies get proper fucking search warrants these days, and those in and of themselves are not lethal, it's the agents behind the guns. And you want to hand those bozos toys that are potentially lethal to human beings? Without oversight???? Without the public having recourse and redress?

Dude, put down the pipe already and turn yourself in. You're insufficiently paranoid to survive in today's politico-economic climate.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41487177)

Oversight is provided by the executive branch. Leaders are often replaced when a change through the ballot box occurs. If by federal alphabet agencies - you mean the FBI .. they are certainly better than the local police force; largely because of the degree of oversight. CIA has no jurisdiction within the borders and the NSA is an intelligence operation - without a warrant the data they collect isn't used for judicial function. Sorry - you've jumped a touch past paranoid.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41490639)

Oversight is provided by the executive branch. Leaders are often replaced when a change through the ballot box occurs. If by federal alphabet agencies - you mean the FBI .. they are certainly better than the local police force; largely because of the degree of oversight. CIA has no jurisdiction within the borders and the NSA is an intelligence operation - without a warrant the data they collect isn't used for judicial function. Sorry - you've jumped a touch past paranoid.

I wish I was looking at the world through rose-colored glasses like you seem to. Really, I do.

Ever hear of a thing called an executive order? Check it out sometime. Executive orders got us into 5 wars that I can name right off the top of my head, no 'oversight', no repercussions to the 'executive' in charge. Not for starting a war, that is. They've been used since Truman to increase the power of the executive by a penstroke, no appeal, damned little recourse. You can't even get the Supremes to rule on it until it goes through 'the proper channels', and by that time, the furor usually is over and everybody lets it slide. That's assuming the Supremes even bother to look over the case. They have the right to refuse to hear anything. Executive orders have the force of Federal law, and they're in the hands of somebody who, per the Constitution, has zero right or duty to create law. In the hands of a relatively benign executive like Truman or Carter, good things happen. In the hands of someone not quite so benign, like LBJ, we get the Vietnam War. In the hands of a total meatpuppet like Reagan or Bush 2, all kinds of stupidity happens. Re-read your American history.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41490399)

Drone does not equal guns. Where do you get this? Because you can attach guns to them? A drone is just a plane with high fuel efficiency and long deployment times. Shit you can put guns on helicopters too, but I don't see anyone complaining about cops using them. They cannot bomb us if there are no bombs. This is a surveillance tool.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 2 years ago | (#41501695)

Drone does not equal guns. Where do you get this? Because you can attach guns to them? A drone is just a plane with high fuel efficiency and long deployment times. Shit you can put guns on helicopters too, but I don't see anyone complaining about cops using them. They cannot bomb us if there are no bombs. This is a surveillance tool.

Some people in Pakistan and Iraq would like a word with you...

Re:RAPS- comforting name (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486337)

Yes, tech is just tools. Yes, you can do good and evil with tools. In this case, we're talking about tools that need to be kept out of the hands of a very evil agency. Sure, they have some people there who believe they are doing good, but for the most part DHS has one mission, and that is to protect the interests of the status quo and keep everybody else in line and in fear.

We need to be talking about how to get rid of DHS and not how to help them have even less accountability through automation.

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#41486407)

Can't you just see it now? Robot helicopters intelligently lifting flood victims from rooftops, rescuing kittens from treetops, spraying killer bee swarms with sleep inducing chemicals. They'll come to the aid of lost hikers, climbers and avalanche victims. They will patrol for lost boaters and surveil and protect tagged endangered species from predators- human or other. Their eye in the sky will alert emergency services of serious auto accidents, fires, or weather conditions. They will survey bridge structures and other critical infrastructure for damage, weakness and risk of failure. Their sensors will give us early warning of radiation leaks, chemical spills, dangerous pollutants, and excess allergens.

I can see it. So can you.

How else could you have come up with so so many plausible scenarios within the space of a single paragraph?

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

alexgieg (948359) | about 2 years ago | (#41487589)

"Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS)"

There's an "e" missing there. They should have gone with "Robotic Aircraft for Public Electronic Safety".

Re:RAPS- comforting name (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 2 years ago | (#41487785)

The acronym formed from "Robotic Aircraft for Public Enforcement" might be more accurate...

That's it ! (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#41484971)

When I die, I'm getting my body cremated (just in case).

you cannot have a police state without drones (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 2 years ago | (#41485003)

how long before you cannot turn the volume on the tv down?

Re:you cannot have a police state without drones (1)

NikeHerc (694644) | about 2 years ago | (#41495381)

police state in the title of your post reminded me of a quote from "The Man Who Broke Purple" by Ronald Clark:

"The first important change in organization came in 1949 with the creation of the Armed Forces Security Agency, which, as its name implies, was responsible for collecting and disseminating intelligence at the strategic level for all services. So well did the new system work that three years later it was decided to expand the organization into the newly named National Security Agency, the octopus that today handles intelligence and cryptography for virtually all U.S. agencies, that has extended its activities to surveillance of Americans at home and abroad, and has been built into the central agency essential for the running of any police state." [emphasis mine]

Keep in mind this book was published in 1977. This year Wired reported "The NSA Is Building the Countryâ(TM)s Biggest Spy Center" (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1 [wired.com] .

/. and techdirt regularly report on governmental overreaching and grabs for power (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110714/09102815090/dhs-requests-300-million-to-purchase-even-more-devices-that-dont-work.shtml [techdirt.com] , http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/09/07/195218/fbi-launches-1-billion-nationwide-face-recognition-system [slashdot.org] , http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120106/03474817298/ice-propaganda-film-pats-itself-back-censoring-web-promises-much-more-to-come.shtml [techdirt.com] , http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/07/151258/dhs-goes-ahead-with-pre-crime-detection-project [slashdot.org] , http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/01/14/233203/dhs-monitors-social-media-for-political-dissent [slashdot.org] , http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/09/12/1231227/gao-slams-dhs-over-biowatch-biological-defense-system [slashdot.org] ). The list seems endless.

With all this governmental activity, who is going to protect the constitutional rights of ordinary citizens?

Assasination Risk Greatly Increased by Drones (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | about 2 years ago | (#41485017)

Much like how the U.S. government has seemingly gone over the top with airline security, drones is likely going be the next security threat requiring a very aggressive response to protect buildings, and more to the point, the power-elite from assassination.

To digress a bit, airline security seems over the top until one realizes it's not to protect the passengers, but rather the important structures full of important people the planes could potentially fly into.

I expect likewise will be the response to drones when some baddies are able to easily acquire some and start killing important people.

Even the smallest drones with on-board guidance, perhaps combined with facial recognition and other tools, are more than adequate to deliver a deadly strike (utilizing a firearm, explosives, etc) to kill rich, powerful people, even in relatively secure compounds, which generally rely on walls, guards, and cameras providing security - none of those are much use against a fast flying, relatively quiet drone.

Re:Assasination Risk Greatly Increased by Drones (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485949)

"..To digress a bit, airline security seems over the top until one realizes it's not to protect the passengers, but rather the important structures full of important people the planes could potentially fly into..."

As someone who has worked in this field, I would like to correct your comments slightly.

It is a mistake to think that the security industry is primarily in the business of PROTECTING anybody. It's primarily in the business of maintaining itself in gainful employment. This applies both to the private industry AND the government organisations.

After WW2 most countries closed down their state security apparatus. The UK and US did not - the relevant bodies argued that the Russian threat was just as great and they should be kept on. They ran a cosy little unaudited operation during the 1950s-1980s, becoming less and less relevant as the Cold War tapered away. Then suddenly in 1989 the Berlin Wall came down, and shortly after that they didn't have a job.

I worked in this field at that time, and the sense of panic was palpable. They were looking for work - any work - that would let them continue their existence. During the 1990s they were proposing all sorts of work with drugs or organised crime, and getting into turf wars with the Police and Customs. Then we had 9/11, and suddenly they had a new job.

Having looked redundancy in the face once, I can't see them ever agreeing that their new threat is dying down....

   

I'd Like to Help (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 2 years ago | (#41485115)

But some goddamn wookie keeps blowing up all of mine!

I feel safer already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485227)

America. Love it or leave it.

Safety (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41485233)

Really? Safety? That's the angle they're working?

If there's anything I've learned in life with the many jobs I've had and the situations I've been in, safety is a secondary concern of Americans. When the DHS requests something like this, it should raise some eyebrows. After all, they groped my junk at the airport last I was there. Privacy is of no consequence to them... in the name of "safety".

RAPS - Acronyms Ad Hominem (2)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41485311)

Ransacking Americans, Pretext Security
Rogue Authoritarians for Perpetual Surveillance
Royalty Aerially Patrolling Serfs
Rapacious Airborne Police Squads
Rapidly Ascending Poop Slinger ?

Re:RAPS - Acronyms Ad Hominem (1)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41485667)

I couldn't resist adding one more:
RAPS = Reconstituting America for Paltry Statism - I think that sums it up well enough.

Looking for a few good drones???? (2)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about 2 years ago | (#41485331)

Some jokes just write themselves...

Completely different missions (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41485427)

There are several completely different missions for different types of UAVs. The common problem is airspace coordination, which seems to be what this is mostly about.

First, there's a role for little model-sized RC helicopters and quadrotors for local fire and police work. This is mostly for situations when you really need to look down on an emergency scene, or fly into it. As long as they stay below 500 feet AGL and under the weight limits for ultralights, the FAA doesn't regulate them. In terms of cost-effectiveness, those will probably be the most useful UAVs.

Police departments would like something as useful as a police helicopter with camera and spotlight, but not as expensive to operate. Those need to rise above the 500 foot level, so they need sensors that can detect other aircraft. This is the current big problem - operating UAVs in airspace under "see and be seen" rules. No UAV can yet do that. Police UAVs don't need huge range, but do need to hover, or at least circle in reasonably tight circles.

The border patrol people want something more like existing combat UAVs, with lots of range and good sensors. The drug enforcement people probably want something quiet with really good sensors. The main problem there will be to keep those efforts from becoming a money drain. Those guys do not need Global Hawks.

Re:Completely different missions (1)

couchslug (175151) | about 2 years ago | (#41487181)

"The border patrol people want something more like existing combat UAVs, with lots of range and good sensors."

The Border Patrol should be a military mission anyway, if the idea is to stop intrusion.

Re:Completely different missions (1)

ISoldat53 (977164) | about 2 years ago | (#41487603)

Something like this would be invaluable to the Coast Guard. Having a resource that could maintain a search for extended periods with sensors capable of spotting distressed vessels or even the IR signature of someone in the water would save hundreds of lives a year. Once located then they could send a manned A/C to assist.

Missed 'Em By *That* Much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485551)

"Looking for a few good drones."

Sorry, there was a glut in S.C. recently, but it's over now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07fTsF5BiSM [youtube.com]

Those drones, however, are still believing this stuff.

In his own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWVL7TptQ24 [youtube.com]

Germany used Buzz Bombs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485619)

I just remembered a connection.

Past patterns repeat themselves. The Nazis used the V1 flying bomb against England during WWII.

Unmanned jet planes which flew over the target territory and then dropping and exploding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb [wikipedia.org]

I did a little research... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485935)

I did a little research and discovered I own the airspace above my property up to a certain altitude.

I wonder how many balloons I can float over my house. Hrmm...does acetylene float? How about when mixed with helium?

Re:I did a little research... (1)

Budgreen (561093) | about 2 years ago | (#41486831)

This ^^ floating up chaff and nets would be fun. .

Re:I did a little research... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41488727)

If this passes I foresee a rise in the sail of barrage balloons

This wont end well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41485955)

eom

robert sheckley Prospector’s Special (1)

mapkinase (958129) | about 2 years ago | (#41486475)

The vision of robot coming to help you reminded me of Robert Sheckley's Prospector’s Special

Merely Pondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41486523)

Just wondering in a strictly theoretical sense, with no desire or call for myself nor anyone else to try.

But.

I do wonder what size of laser would be required to damage their optics. Bonus: I doubt drones do too many 'Crazy Ivan' evasive maneuvers.

A few good drones? (1)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41488639)

That's easy. All DHS needs to do is borrow a few from some of the busier DMV offices.

So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41488733)

"the results of the program ... will remain unavailable to the public" So the program to keep us under RAPS is under wraps?

Civilian Drones (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41489363)

Well hell, if they want drones, lets have drones. Lets have Civilian drones!. We can follow the cops, feds, congressmen, celebrities, all from the safety and comfort of a computer terminal while a 1,000$ DIY drone snaps pictures, sends video, etc. We could do stuff like route police patrols on google maps, follow government drones around and see what they are up to. Drones could deliver pizza and chinese food, dry cleaning, heck, the sky really would be the limit !! Drones for everybody!!!!!
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