How Close Are We to a Nano-based Surveillance State?
In the span of just three years, we have seen drone surveillance become openly operational on American soil.
In 2007, Texas reporters first filmed a predator drone testbeing conducted by the local police department in tandem with Homeland Security. And in 2009, it was revealed that an operation was underway to use predator drones inland over major cities, far from “border control” functions. This year it has been announced that not only will drone operations fly over the Mexican border, but the United States and Canada are partnering to cover 900 miles of the northern border as well.
Now that the precedent has been set to employ drones over non-combat areas, the military is further revealing the technology of miniaturization that they currently have at their disposal. As drone expert, P.W. Singer said, “At this point, it doesn’t really matter if you are against the technology, because it’s coming.” According to Singer, “The miniaturization of drones is where it really gets interesting. You can use these things anywhere, put them anyplace, and the target will never even know they’re being watched.”
So what exactly is on the horizon?
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funds military tech development through the private sector with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Honeywell. It was Honeywell that introduced the T-Hawk micro drone — now purchased byMiami-Dade county for use in the metro area — which weighs all of 16 pounds and can fly in any direction. However, this is not so “micro” compared to the latest spy drone to be revealed: the Nano Hummingbird, produced by AeroVironment. The video below illustrates the capabilities of this 19g vehicle: