Big Brother’s trying to find new ways to keep an eye on things. Wired has a story on Homeland Security “soliciting industry feedback” on the viability of a high-endurance aerial camera drone capable of keeping an eye on four square miles at once, similar to drones the military’s been working on. This is the “bad” side of drones becoming available outside of the military – privacy can disappear really easily. (Although if the government can use them to actually reduce crime rates, that’d be awesome.)
A Dallas meat-packing plant was caught releasing blood and effluent into a nearby river by a civilian who was test-driving a 75$ UAV with an attached camera. A good demonstration of one of the up-sides to having civilian UAVs.
- One of the things that I’m going to be keeping an eye on this year is the legal status of civilian drone use. The reason I bring this up is that Sea Shepherd (the vigilante anti-whaling group) has received permission from the Australian government to use drones to track the Japanese whaling fleet.
- Speaking of civvie surveillance drones… here are some toy versions for making mischief.
- And, lest we forget, there are certain improvements that have to be made for drones to work in busy airspaces and around cities. Like avoiding other aircraft and knowing what spots are safe for an emergency landing.
- Smart traffic lights – they’re a dream for planners and commuters, and a nightmare for people who deal with them when they glitch. Still, maybe if they have something that tells them what’s at the intersection, that’ll help a little.
- A new pathway for cybercrime (and possibly assassination): hacking your car. Seriously, if you hook a car up to the internet, this will happen. Who, when, where, why, and how aren’t possible to determine, but it will happen. Really doesn’t make me look forward to buying my next car…
- Sleeves that track your arm movements, another way for people and companies to improve productivity.
- Connect your home appliances, thermostat, power and water supply, etc, to a single electrical monitoring system, which you can access and control via the internet. This is a smart home, and we’re likely to see more and better in the coming decade or two.
- Oh hey, I was talking about the US military’s budget plans yesterday, and here they are in the news: Wired and DefenseTech have articles on Obama’s and Panetta’s plans for the military. They were also on the network news quite a bit, too.
- There’s been some chatter on the blogosphere about the USAF X-37B spaceplane spying on China’s space station/lab. Not sure if it’s legit concerns or just a bit of noise that lacks real substance.