Weekend Roundup 3/24

News Trending Now


The journalist and author Daniel Klaidman made headlines this week by reporting that the Obama administration is considering shifting drone targeted killing operations from the CIA to the military. Mark Manzetti at the New York Times reports on the administration’s efforts.


Mayor Bloomberg has said that military grade surveillance drones are coming to New York City: “‘There’ll be cameras every place…We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I just don’t see how you could stop that.’”


The Senate Judiciary Committee was a hotbed of drone-inspired anxiety this week in a hearing on potential domestic privacy concerns. You can find the video here and articles at the Times, the Verge and CNET. The Times also has an article summarizing domestic drone opportunities and fears.


At a drone industry meeting in Virginia last week, supporters and lobbyists worry that their image has become so poor that, “‘At this point, the first person who shoots down a [drone] will be a hero.’”


Time Magazine reports on the growing opportunities in higher education drone studies. “The UAS operations major combines both manned and unmanned aerial training.”


Former Obama administration DOD legal counsel Jeh Johnson gave this speech about the pros and cons of special ‘drone courts.’


What are drones good for? CBS News wonders if they will replace news helicopters. A British animal advocacy organization plans to use drones to catch illegal hunters. DIY Drones founder Chris Anderson speaks about how drones will revolutionize farming (video). After 89 elephants were killed last week, the World Wildlife Fund will start testing drones next month in Namibia to assist park rangers in catching poachers. “To stop the massacre of these stately beasts, conservation groups are fighting poachers with eye-in-the-sky drones.”


The CIA predicts that ‘big data is the future’: ” It is really very nearly within our grasp to be able to compute on all human generated information.”


Amidst rapidly proliferating foreign drone programs, President Obama is worried about the lack of international guidelines governing their use.


In last week’s roundup we linked to an article about how the CIA is shifting targeting officers to manage potential future Syrian drone strikes. A report released this week says that the CIA is actively supporting Syrian opposition fighters with intelligence.


Commentary and Analysis


Professor Berkowitz writes at the Hannah Arendt Center blog on drones, bees and last week’s lecture by Tom Levine.


John Haag has a piece titled “Drones, Ethics and the Armchair soldier” on the NYT The Stone blog.


Heba Ali argues that drone strikes hamper aid efforts.


Lawfare blog has this post about the kinds of drone duties that might shift from the CIA to the DOD. Greg McNeal also calls for a white paper to spell out the specifics of drone usage.


An NPR opinion piece wonders if drones are ‘the moral way to go.’


Former House of Reps member Jane Harman has this Op-Ed in the Times arguing for more rules to govern drone strikes.


Rikita Singh at Lawfare Blog has a post including commentary and links  about the visit by UN special rapporteur Ben Emmerson to Pakistan last week.


Derek Gregory has a post at the Geographical Imaginations blog about air strikes- by Pakistan– in the FATA borderlands.


For a historical perspective, see this NYT blog post about the ‘rise of infernal machines’ during the Civil War.


Know Your Drone: Robots and their Relatives


The Atlantic reports that the ‘canonical’ image of a Reaper drone firing a missile is a fake.


FishPi, an unmanned boat, is being prepped for a cross-Atlantic voyage.


Watch this video about how Iraqi insurgents hacked into the US military’s drone feeds using off the shelf $30 software.


Italian police in Turin use a quadcopter to catch a car thief.

Image courtesy of ChristopherKeelty.com

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