Barack Obama’s government is expanding its use of remote-controlled drone aircraft from monitoring and killing its enemies overseas to tracking and monitoring average Americans here inside the United States. These are the same drones that the U.S. military claims have successfully assassinated so many of its political opponents abroad.
According to two recent documents circulated by the U.S. Army, the White House is seeking vendors to help it develop “tagging, tracking and locating” technology as part of a network of unmanned drones that would hover over American cities and towns, videotaping people as they go about their daily tasks. They could then use facial recognition technology to feed this information into a centralized database that would allow the government to more efficiently monitor our daily lives.
While the initial deployment of this technology will be in Afghanistan where it will be tested on alleged terrorists and militants who oppose U.S. occupation of that country, the technology is scheduled for American delivery after testing its use in the domestic tracking of citizens.
One of the two contracts to develop this tracking technology has been awarded to Prodigy Systems Corporation, a government contractor that is developing systems which allow the aircraft to create three-dimensional models of their targets in order to track Americans’ movements in real time. Their technology is called the “long range, non-cooperative, biometric tagging, tracking and location system,” with the non-cooperative referring to the fact that this technology is intended as an intrusion into American’s lives.
As a further frightening development, it has been reported that the Army is also experimenting with technologies that would allow these drones essentially to read people’s minds by monitoring electrochemical reactions in the brain to supposedly determine if a person has “hostile intentions.” One suggested use of this technology is to punish “future crimes” by allowing the police to arrest individuals who are exhibiting hostile intentions before they actually commit a criminal act. This technology is known as the “adverse behavior acquisition collection and understanding system,” or ABACUS, and is developed by Charles River Analytics. Modus Operandi, Inc. is developing a competing technology called Clear Heart.
Many of these technologies are merely refinements of existing capacities held by the U.S. federal government, which already uses cellular phone and traffic camera technology to monitor persons and locations across the country. While information from these devices aren’t funneled directly to the feds, when the government wants to track the location of a person in recent periods, they issue subpoenas or national security letters to cell phone or local government providers and obtain records that track cellular phone signals, or the tapes of certain locations captured on camera. An effort to integrate facial recognition technology into these applications has been ongoing as well.