WWII's 16th Photo Tech: A Project. By Theresa Everline.

Technology and Its Effects

TODAY’S SURVEILLANCE: UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

The Nov. 2, 2009, LA Times has a great story about the latest technology in unmanned aircraft. Here’s the lede paragraph:

The Pentagon plans to dramatically increase the surveillance capabilities of its most advanced unmanned aircraft next year, adding so many video feeds that a drone which now stares down at a single house or vehicle could keep constant watch on nearly everything that moves within an area of 1.5 square miles.

To be more unnervingly fascinatingly specific:

Unmanned MQ-9 Reaper aircraft now produce a single video feed as they fly continuously over surveillance routes.

And the program’s unnerving clever name?

… the newest technology program has been given a fearsome name: the Gorgon Stare, named for the mythological creature whose gaze turns victims to stone.

After mentioning how the use of unmanned aircraft can reduce the need for troops on the ground, the LA Times story then attempts to address the drawbacks of the drones. The gist: they regularly kill innocent civilians. But in the Oct. 26, 2009, New Yorker, Jane Mayer makes a much more provocative case against drones by asking: How are they different from the types of covert assassination squads that usually cause deep misgivings?

It’s easy to understand the appeal of a “push-button” approach to fighting Al Qaeda, but the embrace of the Predator program has occurred with remarkably little public discussion, given that it represents a radically new and geographically unbounded use of state-sanctioned lethal force.

1 Comment »

  1. […] first thoughts Filed under: Uncategorized — Theresa Everline @ 12:12 pm On the “Technology and Its Effects” page I’ve posted links to stories in the LA Times and The New Yorker about the current unmanned […]

    Pingback by Reconnaissance then and now: first thoughts « WWII's 16th Photo Tech: A Project. By Theresa Everline. — November 2, 2009 @ 12:16 pm


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