Tag Archives: drone

This is the week that the drone surveillance state became real

Affordable consumer technology has made surveillance cheap and commoditized AI software has made it automatic.

Those two trends merged this week, when drone manufacturer DJI partnered June 5 with Axon, the company that makes Taser weapons and police body cameras, to sell drones to local police departments around the United States. Now, not only do local police have access to drones, but footage from those flying cameras will be automatically analyzed by AI systems not disclosed to the public.

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Footage will be uploaded or streamed to Axon’s digital cloud for police cameras, like the body cameras it currently sells, where it can be analyzed by Axon’s AI and used for anything from crowd monitoring to search and rescue, the company writes on its website.

This sounds vague, but AI research published two days earlier by academics from India and the UK shows exactly how such a drone system could be used. The paper, titled “Eye in the Sky,” details how drone footage could be used to detect “violent individuals” in real-time.

To train the AI, the researchers flew a drone to snap 2,000 images of people pretending to hurt each other. But since the researchers didn’t use real data, and carefully staged the information the AI analyzed to learn the difference between violence and normal human motion, there’s no guarantee that it would work well in the real world, David Sumpter, author of Outnumbered: Exploring the Algorithms that Control Our Lives, wrote on Medium.

“What the algorithm has done is classify individuals with their hands or legs in the air as violent,” Sumpter wrote. Others, like Google ethics hawk Meredith Whittaker, tweeted that the research was flawed and that “AI is facing a mounting ethical crisis.”

Other researchers, including Google (pdf) and Facebook, have also done extensive research trying to solve the same problem of tracking how people move, and what those movements might indicate they’re doing.

But the “Eye in the Sky” researchers are trying to associate certain poses with intent. The researchers don’t discuss any false-positives for actions that could be misinterpreted as violence, such as play-fighting, knocking a fly off someone’s shoulder, or grabbing someone who’s falling.

Regardless of questions surrounding the AI’s legitimacy, The Verge reports that the researchers have gotten approval to test the technology during two festivals in India in October.

With $160 for a Parrot drone like the “Eye in the Sky” team used, and a few pennies for Amazon’s cloud AI platform, anyone with a coding background could have made a similar system. Even teens and cucumber farmers are building their own AI systems.

But the “Eye in the Sky” paper was published publicly, unlike Axon’s technology. The firm, which has acquired two AI companies and has access to petabytes of police camera footage, has no obligation to disclose how the AI was trained or whether it’s accurate or unbiased. Axon wasn’t immediately available to explain how it analyses footage captured by its cameras.

Other kinds of AI, like facial recognition, are already in use in China to surveil ethnic minorities. US authorities, like the Chicago police department are already starting to adopt AI systems for predictive policing, another pursuit rife with bad data. In Baltimore, a plane loaded with cameras was secretly deployed as a surveillance tool until 2016. But now, AI-powered surveillance systems are becoming as easy for a police department to order as a car, handcuffs, or anything else they feel they need to effectively do their jobs.

And now, drones are already getting the green light for police use, not just for surveillance but also to dispense pepper spray and tear gas.

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‘Pooper-scooper’ drone cleans up dog poo so you don’t step in it: Aerial craft searches for animal waste then sends a rolling robot to collect it

A Dutch startup is set to release a fleet of ‘drones’ to combat the 220 million pounds of dog droppings left on the Netherlands’ streets each year.

Called Dogdrones, the vehicles will work together as a team to detect and scoop up the poop.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Watchdog 1 (pictured), uses a camera and thermal imaging to scan the environment for canine waste

The aerial drone is fitted with cameras and thermal energy technology that transmits GPS coordinates of the feces to a rolling robot on the ground that immediately leaves its hub to clean up the waste.

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A Dutch startup is set release a fleet of 'drones' to combat the 220 million pounds of dog droppings left on the Netherlands's streets each year. Called Dogdrones, the vehicles will work together as a team to detect and scoop up the poop

A Dutch startup is set release a fleet of ‘drones’ to combat the 220 million pounds of dog droppings left on the Netherlands’s streets each year. Called Dogdrones, the vehicles will work together as a team to detect and scoop up the poop

DOGDRONES

Watchdog 1, uses a camera and thermal imaging to scan the environment for canine waste.

The thermal imaging will then crate a heat map showing the location, which is translated into GPS coordinates and sent to Patroldog 1 – the ground robot.

The GPS coordinates act as a command for Patroldog 1 to dispose of the droppings.

However, during tests, the team discovered that the ground drone needs more development, as it is unable to collect past a certain amount.

Dogdrones is the brainchild of Gerben Lievers and Marc Sandelowsky, who met at an event for entrepreneurs and has since started Tinki.

According to Tinki, there are 1.5 million dogs in the Netherlands, each one poops 2.3 times a day and leaves behind 3.5 ounces of material.

Although some dog owners clean up after their pets, a majority of them ignore the issue, leaving the streets polluted with dog feces.

‘In the Netherlands, every year 100 million kilos [220 million pounds] of dog poo are not disposed,’ Lievers explained.

‘Especially with the rising temperature in spring, dog poo can seriously endanger people’s health.’

‘Dog poo contains bacteria, viruses, parasites and worms that are especially harmful for children.’

‘Adults and other dogs are at risk, as well. Parasite eggs can survive for years and result in a danger of infection if dog poo is not properly disposed.’

‘We talked about drone technology and the possibilities and solutions that are made possible through new developments in the drone world.

‘During the conversation we got talking about a huge problem in the Netherlands – dog poo.’

‘We have more than 13,000 followers on Facebook, mostly people who own dogs themselves.

‘They are frustrated about owners that do not clean up the mess of their dogs as well.’

‘In the beginning we were just joking around, but then realized that we can solve a huge problem’.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Watchdog 1, uses a camera and thermal imaging to scan the environment for canine waste.

However, this technology only lets the drone spot dog poo at body temperature – meaning there is a limited amount of time before it will go undetected.

The aerial drone is fitted with cameras and thermal energy technology (pictured) that transmits GPS coordinates of the feces to a rolling robot

The aerial drone is fitted with cameras and thermal energy technology (pictured) that transmits GPS coordinates of the feces to a rolling robot

The thermal imaging will then create a heat map showing the location, which is translated into GPS coordinates and sent to Patroldog 1 (pictured) – the ground robot. The GPS coordinates act as a command for Patroldog 1 to dispose of the droppings

The thermal imaging will then create a heat map showing the location, which is translated into GPS coordinates and sent to Patroldog 1 (pictured) – the ground robot. The GPS coordinates act as a command for Patroldog 1 to dispose of the droppings

The thermal imaging will then create a heat map showing the location, which is translated into GPS coordinates and sent to Patroldog 1 – the ground robot.

The GPS coordinates act as a command for Patroldog 1 to dispose of the droppings.

However, during tests, the team discovered that the ground drone needs more development, as it is unable to collect past a certain amount.

It is currently too small of a device to gather large amounts of dog feces, but the firm is in the process of developing larger models – they are also researching ways to ‘find a smart solution to recycling the poo’.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Watchdog 1 (pictured), uses a camera and thermal imaging to scan the environment for canine waste

‘In the Netherlands, every year 100 million kilos of dog poo are not disposed,’ said Lievers.

‘Especially with the rising temperature in spring, dog poo can seriously endanger people’s health.’

‘Dog poo contains bacteria, viruses, parasites and worms that are especially harmful for children.’

‘Adults and other dogs are at risk, as well. Parasite eggs can survive for years and result in a danger of infection if dog poo is not properly disposed.’

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China Unveils New Stealth Drone Capable Of Carrying Two-Ton Payload

China has revealed a new stealth drone called “Sharp Sword” which is capable of carrying more than 4,000 pounds of bombs.

 The unmanned combat aerial vehicle is the first non-NATO craft of its kind. It recently won second place in China’s National Science and Technology Advancement Prizes.

“Sharp Sword” could enter the service as early as 2019 for use in reconnaissance missions and later combat missions.

It was built by Aviation Industry Corporation of China with the help of the Hongdu Aviation Industry Group.

The aerial vehicle is equipped with two internal bomb bays and can carry a payload of roughly 4,400 pounds.

Little is known about “Sharp Sword” due to China’s secrecy surrounding their drone programs.

The 33-foot-long Sharp Sword craft with a wingspan of roughly 46 feet, uses a non-afterburning WS-13 turbofan engine with serpentine inlet to hide it from enemy radar.

The “Sharp Sword” first flew in November 2013 and was first spotted conducting flight testing last year.

The aerial vehicle is a response to the American X-47B, the British Taranis and the French Neuron.

This comes just a few months after China unveiled the CH-5 unmanned aerial vehicle. It is capable of flying for two straight days without refueling. It was revealed at an airshow last year along with China’s J-20 stealth fighter.

China Unveils New Stealth Drone Capable Of Carrying Two-Ton Payload

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Beijing seizes US underwater drone in South China Sea

A Chinese navy warship seized an underwater drone deployed by an American oceanographic vessel in international waters.

The mission of the survey ship, USS Bowditch, had been sampling and data collection of surface, mid-water and ocean floor measurements.

A Rutgers university ocean glider probably similar to the one siezed.

A Rutgers university ocean glider probably similar to the one siezed.

The Bowditch was sailing about 100 miles off the port at Subic Bay when the incident happened. The survey ship had stopped to pick up two underwater drones when a Chinese naval ship that had been shadowing the Bowditch put a small boat into the water. The small boat came up alongside and the Chinese crew took one of the drones.

The United States is calling for the return of the drone, which was seized in the South China Sea on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Bowditch received no answer from the Chinese on the radio when it said the drones were American property, according to US defense officials. The survey ship was about to retrieve the drone before it was captured.

US oceanographic research vessels are often followed by the Chinese on the assumption they are spying.

The Pentagon has confirmed the information first reported by Reuters.

Washington has committed to beefing up its military presence in the region and has been conducting stepped-up naval patrols and exercises in the South China Sea, which is adjacent to the Chinese mainland and key military bases on Hainan Island.

The US Navy insists on its right to operate throughout the area, including waters close to China’s new outposts. It has carried out three so-called ‘Freedom of Navigation Operations’ (FONOPs), sending warships within the 12-nauticial mile territorial limits of islands claimed by China.

Beijing has strongly criticized such missions.

A US think tank says recent satellite images appear to show that China has installed anti-aircraft and anti-missile weapons on its man-made islands in the South China Sea.

In a report released on Wednesday, the Center for International and Strategic Studies said the anti-aircraft guns and weapons designed to guard against missile attack have been placed on all seven of China’s newly created islands.

The outposts were built in recent years by piling sand on top of coral reefs followed by construction of military grade, 3,000 meter (10,000 foot) airstrips, barracks, lighthouse radar stations and other infrastructure.

The think tank based its conclusion on satellite images taken in mid-to-late November.

In September the Pentagon said it wanted to “sharpen its military edge” in Asia Pacific.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the Pentagon will focus efforts on modernizing its military capabilities in the region including Air Force modernization of the KC-46A tanker, B-21 bomber and F-35 joint strike fighter.

Military Times said the defense agency plans to invest in undersea drones and advanced torpedoes.

China has been critical of the US expansion in the region. In early September the Chinese Defense Ministry warned the US against deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.

China also warned Tokyo against “playing with fire” and joining US-led naval “patrols” in the South China Sea, after Tokyo announced plans to increase joint military activities with the US to counter Chinese dominance earlier in September.

The US has military bases in at least 74 countries worldwide, including a number of facilities in Asia Pacific. Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, and Guam all host American military bases, while US military personnel is also deployed in Thailand.

https://www.rt.com/usa/370559-china-us-drone-sea/
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Russia Tests Nuclear-Capable Drone Sub

Unmanned underwater vehicle a strategic threat.

Russia conducted a test of a revolutionary nuclear-capable drone submarine that poses a major strategic threat to U.S. ports and harbors.

U.S. intelligence agencies detected the test of the unmanned underwater vehicle, code-named Kanyon by the Pentagon, during its launch from a Sarov-class submarine on Nov. 27, said Pentagon officials familiar with reports of the test.Kanyon UUV / Artist's rendering

No details were available about the location or results of the test.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis declined to comment. “We closely monitor Russian underwater military developments, but we will not comment specifically about them,” Davis said.

Development of the new drone submarine was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon in September 2015 and then confirmed by the Russian military two months later. Russian officials said the secret program was mistakenly disclosed.

Russia calls the drone development program the “Ocean Multipurpose System ‘Status-6.’” The developer is Russia’s TsKB MT Rubin design bureau, the defense industry entity that builds all Russia’s submarines.

U.S. intelligence agencies estimate the Kanyon secret underwater drone will be equipped with megaton-class warheads—the largest nuclear weapons in existence, with the killing power of millions of tons of TNT.

The weapon likely could be used against U.S. ports and bases, including those used by ballistic missile submarines.

The two U.S. nuclear missile submarine bases are located at Kings Bay, Georgia, just north of the Florida border, and Puget Sound in Washington State.

Russia’s nuclear weapons development in recent years has alarmed American military leaders in part due to a new doctrine adopted by Moscow that increases its reliance on nuclear forces in a conflict. The new doctrine indicates that Russia will quickly escalate to the use of nuclear arms to compensate for its aging and outdated conventional forces.

U.S. intelligence agencies also have detected Russia’s development of new low-yield tactical nuclear weapons—arms that could be used more easily in regional conflicts.

Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider said the test of the underwater nuclear delivery vehicle poses a new strategic threat.

“The Status-6, a nuclear powered, nuclear armed drone submarine, is the most irresponsible nuclear weapons program that Putin’s Russia has come up with,” said Schneider, now with the National Institute for Public Policy.

“Status-6 is designed to kill civilians by massive blast and fallout,” he said, noting that such targeting violates the law of armed conflict.

kanyon

According to a Russian document disclosed on state television Nov. 10, 2015, the weapon is a self-propelled underwater craft capable of carrying a nuclear warhead up to 6,200 miles. The vehicle can submerge to a depth of 3,280 feet and travel at speeds of up to 56 knots.

A drawing of the drone submarine shows it will be nuclear powered, controlled by surface ships, and supported by a Sarov submarine.

Russia’s Sarov has been described in Russian press reports as a diesel electric-powered vessel for testing new weapons and technology. It also has been described as an intelligence-gathering submarine.

The Russian document said Russia planned to build a Kanyon prototype by 2019 and begin testing that year. The Nov. 27 test indicates the document may have been a disinformation operation aimed at deceiving the United States about the program.

U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that the 2015 leak was Moscow’s attempt to warn the United States about its displeasure with U.S. missile defenses in Europe and the deployment of missile defense ships to the region.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters one day after the leak that classified information had been accidentally disclosed—an unusual public admission of a security error that has raised concerns about false Russian strategic messaging.

The Russian nuclear arms buildup has coincided with what U.S. officials say are unprecedented public statements by Russian leader Vladimir Putin about nuclear weapons in response to Western opposition to Moscow’s military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

In addition to the nuclear-tipped drone, Russian nuclear modernization includes a new class of ballistic missile submarines, new submarine-launched ballistic missiles, two new land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, and a new long-range bomber. Russia also is building a new railroad-based missile system.

The U.S. Navy is developing new underwater drones, but none will be nuclear armed.

Schneider, the former Pentagon official who has held a number of positions involving strategic weapons, said reports from Russia indicate the drone sub will be armed with a 100-megaton warhead.

“The Russian government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that to achieve ‘extensive radioactive contamination’ the weapon ‘could envisage using the so-called cobalt bomb, a nuclear weapon designed to produce enhanced amounts of radioactive fallout compared to a regular atomic warhead,’” Schneider said.

“A cobalt bomb is a ‘doomsday’ weapons concept conceived during the Cold War, but apparently never actually developed,” he said.

Testing of the drone, which is said to be powered by a nuclear reactor with limited shielding, poses environmental risks. A guidance failure could result in an undersea nuclear disaster.

“The Obama State Department appears to be asleep at the helm on this issue,” Schneider said, noting the New START arms treaty requires notification of new offensive strategic weapons in a U.S.-Russia commission.

“We could even propose a ban on such weapons,” Schneider said. “There is no indication from the Obama administration that any negotiations are underway, or that the U.S. has even raised the issue with Russia.”

During congressional testimony in December 2015, Rose Gottemoeller, then the undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said the Russian nuclear-armed drone is a concern.

“I know we are concerned about it; of course we are concerned about it as a threat to the United States,” said Gottemoeller, now NATO’s deputy secretary general. She noted that the system would pose a great threat if “widely put into operation.”

The Obama administration, however, took no action against Russia’s violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

Retired Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, former commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, has said development of the underwater nuclear strike vehicle is one element of a “troubling” Russian strategic nuclear buildup.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), chairman of the House subcommittee on strategic forces, has said that the Russians assert the nuclear drone submarine will be used to target coastal areas and inflict “unacceptable damage to a country’s territory by creating areas of wide radioactive contamination that would be unsuitable for military, economic, or other activity for long periods of time.”

“What does it say about a country that feels that nuclear weapons are such a significant tool of its military and diplomatic strategy that it discloses systems in this manner?” Rogers asked during a House hearing. “And what does this say about a country that would invest resources in such a weapon? This is just nuts.”

Pavel Podvig, a Russian nuclear forces watcher, stated two years ago that the Status-6 payload “looks like a massive dirty bomb,”—a nuclear device that kills with radiation as opposed to a combination of a nuclear blast and radiation.

“A number of people noted that the description does not necessarily exclude the possibility that the initial ‘damaging’ can be done by a regular nuclear device,” Podvig said. “Which only makes this whole thing even more insane—do they think that a nuclear weapon on its own would not inflict ‘unacceptable damage’?” he said.

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/russia-tests-nuclear-capable-drone-sub/

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Can’t we just drone this guy?” Clinton asked

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reportedly wanted to drone Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when she was secretary of state.

According to True Pundit, Clinton and the state department were under pressure to silence Assange and Wikileaks in the months before the whistleblowing site released a massive dump of 250,000 diplomatic cables from 1966 up to 2010, dubbed CableGate.

“Can’t we just drone this guy?” Clinton asked, according to unidentified state department sources.Image result for Assange

Published by True Pundit on Sunday, Wikileaks posted a link to the story on their official Twitter account on Monday, along with a screenshot of the article.

Clinton and the state department held numerous meetings to discuss what could be done about Assange and his site which had already exposed damning military secrets about the war in Afghanistan and Iraq before the promised document dump was to come. The department was under pressure from both the White House and foreign governments to silence Wikileaks.

True Pundit reports the people in the room with Clinton on November 23, 2010 laughed at her comment, until it became clear that the then-secretary of state was serious. Clinton was reportedly fuming and referred to Assange as a “soft target.”

After Clinton’s drone suggestion, the state department considered offering a reward to anyone whose help secured the Australian journalist’s capture and extradition to the US. Unnamed sources reported a $10 million price was discussed at the meeting.

Following the meeting, Clinton aide Ann-Marie Slaughter emailed Clinton and aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan with the subject, “RE an SP memo on possible legal and nonlegal strategies re Wikileaks.”

The email contained an attachment “SP Wikileaks doc final11.23.10.docx.” which has not been found by federal investigators investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server. Wikileaks itself does not have this attachment.

Five days after the meeting, Wikileaks began releasing the CableGate files, on November 28, 2010.

Sources familiar with the meeting claim they were reminded of Clinton’s penchant for discussing droning enemies following the release of the FBI’s report on the Clinton email investigation, according to True Pundit.

The FBI’s notes on Clinton’s interview during the investigation referred to Clinton having “many discussions” about “nominating” droning individuals.

“Clinton could not recall a specific process for nominating a target for a drone strike and recalled much debate pertaining to the concurrence process. Clinton knew there was a role for DOD, State and the CIA but could not provide specifics as to what it was. Due to a disagreement between these agencies, Clinton recalled having many discussions related to nominating an individual for a drone strike,” the report reads.

Assange was set to make a big announcement at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Tuesday where he has been trapped for five years, but cancelled in light of security concerns.

The teased leak, dubbed an “October Surprise” is thought to be damaging for Clinton before the presidential elections in November.

The announcement will now be made at Wikileaks’ 10-year anniversary celebration in Berlin on Tuesday. Assange will address the event via video leak.

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US Government Forced to Release Secret Drone Playbook

The long-awaited guidelines provide “a timely reminder of the breadth of the powers that will soon be in the hands of another president,” said ACLU deputy legal director.

Three years and thousands of deaths later, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama late Friday finally made public its guidelines for conducting lethal drone strikes.

The release of the Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG), also known as “the Playbook,” came in response to a lawsuit filed last year by the American Civil Liberties UnionImage result for evil drones (ACLU) seeking the framework—which Obama said at the time was created in the interest of greater transparency and oversight over the expansive targeted killing program.

Now, three years after that address, the redacted PPG finally provides the rights group with “crucial information about policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including hundreds of non-combatants, and about the bureaucracy that the Obama administration has constructed to oversee and implement those policies,” said ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer in a statement on Saturday.

The long-awaited release will serve to “inform an ongoing debate about the lawfulness and wisdom of the government’s counterterrorism policies.” Further, coming amid the 2016 presidential election, the documents are “a timely reminder of the breadth of the powers that will soon be in the hands of another president,” Jaffer added.

presidential_policy_guidance_0

 

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