By James Smith
7 October 2012
When the DHS put in the solicitation to “… solicit participation in the Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) project from the small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) for transition to its customers” many people believed that the DHS was working on buying drones to watch over the sheeple before, during, and after mass civil disorder.
But they won’t need to.
Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) have been used by Homeland Security for almost a decade in the United States. Four units were to be purchased by the end of 2007, covering land and sea. However, UAV’s can cost more than double that of a manned aircraft due to the logistical support, specialized pilot, and maintenance training required.
In 2011, the Hawaiian Islands were due to have UAV monitor the coastlines. Repeated requests for more details were ignored by the State and the contractor, Hawaiya Technologies. According to ACLU Senior Staff Attorney Daniel Gluck, “Use of ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ or ‘drones’ by law enforcement has a vast potential for abuse.”
“The Hawaii Supreme Court has already ruled that warrantless infrared surveillance of people’s homes is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. The ACLU of Hawaii will monitor the details of this particular program (the kinds of technology used to perform the surveillance and the areas where it is used) to ensure it does not intrude on Hawaii residents’ and businesses’ protected privacy rights.” Gluck said.
The FAA reports that, “In the United States alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs.” And has issued 78 experimental certificates for 17 different aircraft types, and concedes that UAV’s have a great potential in national defense and homeland security and will work to accommodate the needs of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Nearly a year ago, the World Surveillance Group Inc, a developer of lighter-than-air (“LTA”) unmanned aerial vehicles (“UAVs”) and related technologies, announced that the Company has entered into a three year agreement with Oklahoma State University — University Multispectral Laboratories, LLC (“UML”), to “collaborate in support of research, development, testing & evaluation (“RDT&E”) activities associated with WSGI’s LTA UAV platforms.”
Further, according to the agreement, both parties:
“agree to cooperate and conduct RDT&E, technical, engineering and scientific activities using the facilities, staff, methods, and technologies of each party to rapidly advance technology, from concept to operation, in the following areas: chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive (collectively, “CBRNE”), command, control, computers, communication, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (“C5ISR”), and unmanned aerial systems (“UAS”).”
Just how profitable are UAV’s?
According to SUASNEWS.com:
“The global UAV market is expected to increase at a Combined Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.08% in the ten-year period between 2011 and 2012, a recent ICD report forecasts. ICD estimated the global UAV market value at US$7.1 billion in 2011, this market is projected to grow to a value of US$10.5 billion in 2021, reflecting 4.08% CAGR. The study forecasts this growth will be driven by the demand for UAVs, addressing both homeland and national security, (addressing internal as well external security threats), territorial disputes and modernization initiatives undertaken by armed forces across the world.”
This puts it on line to grow as much as Green Construction, a growing industry within the US.
But privacy remains paramount to the average person in the US. But nothing is done about it.
In an article from earlier this year, it was reported that Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee, criticized that no federal agency has been prepared to challenge the issue of drones and privacy. He said DHS officials rejected a demand to appear at the hearing, saying “regulating civilian use of drones wasn’t the department’s responsibility.”
Representative McCaul said he is considering seeking a court order to force DHS officials to testify at hearings or asking the White House to issue an executive order requiring the department take responsibility for the matter.
And privacy should be respected by government officials, but they still refuse. According to the ACLU, Lansing Michigan police have been using drones to look over the fences of homeowners. Drones have the ability to see beyond what a normal officer can view.
“This means that the Lansing cameras give police the ability to read words on a piece of paper in someone’s hand within 50 feet, clearly discern a license plate that is 300 feet away, or recognize a face at 400 feet,” the ACLU of Michigan writes in a report detailing the abuses.
And because drones can be hacked, a young girl sun tanning in the back yard could very well be recorded for immoral means, or homeowners that are away could find their homes ransacked because the drones provided the hackers with entry codes into garages or backdoors.
All in all, the DHS really doesn’t need to purchase any drones. According to the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order written this year, even in peacetime.
Section 310 states:
Critical Items. The head of each agency engaged in procurement for the national defense is delegated the authority of the President under section 107(b)(1) of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2077(b)(1), to take appropriate action to ensure that critical components, critical technology items, essential materials, and industrial resources are available from reliable sources when needed to meet defense requirements during peacetime, graduated mobilization, and national emergency. Appropriate action may include restricting contract solicitations to reliable sources, restricting contract solicitations to domestic sources (pursuant to statutory authority), stockpiling critical components, and developing substitutes for critical components or critical technology items.
Part VIII (j) allows for:
(j) “National defense” means programs for military and energy production or construction, military or critical infrastructure assistance to any foreign nation, homeland security, stockpiling, space, and any directly related activity. Such term includes emergency preparedness activities conducted pursuant to title VI of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5195 et seq., and critical infrastructure protection and restoration.
It appears that no matter who owns the drone – they will all belong to the government at a whim.
Goodbye privacy, goodbye freedom, goodbye liberty.
Now that’s some Change that the government can all guarantee. Mr. Obama has truly fundamentally changed America.