The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a new map of authorized Drone use in the United States. The map is created from information obtained from EFF’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the FAA. This is an update to a previous map released in April.
The locations show specific identities, including Military and State and Local Law Enforcement, that have applied to the FAA for permission to fly unmanned aerial vehicles in United States airspace.
This has raised a lot of privacy and safety concerns. Especially according to the EFF article, as some of the drones used are military grade:
Perhaps the scariest is the technology carried by a Reaper drone the Air Force is flying near Lincoln, Nevada and in areas of California and Utah. This drone uses “Gorgon Stare” technology, which Wikipedia defines as “a spherical array of nine cameras attached to an aerial drone . . . capable of capturing motion imagery of an entire city.” This imagery “can then be analyzed by humans or an artificial intelligence, such as the Mind’s Eye project” being developed by DARPA. If true, this technology takes surveillance to a whole new level.
There is also the danger of them crashing into populated areas. As this chart from an Air Force Risk Assessment shows:
This chart is very interesting as it shows several issues that could affect Predator drones. Failure of command link, software failure, weather and conflict during execution of lost link procedures all seem very viable reasons of how Iran has procured two of our drones.
One of which, the Stealth Drone obtained last year, they are now claiming that they can duplicate:
“The American RQ-170 drone will be undoubtedly duplicated,” Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh noted on Tuesday.
I highly doubt this is true as even China is having trouble manufacturing the material for stealth aircraft skin and tried to steal some from the US earlier this year.