Weekend Roundup 4/8

News Trending Now

“Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.” So begins the story of the week from Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times. The article describes secret deals between the United States and Pakistan to allow the CIA to use Pakistani airspace for aerial targeted killings.

The Nation reports that the next elected government in Pakistan may end drone strikes in their country.

UAV surveillance of the US-Mexico border shows that a large proportion of illegal crossers are caught. “The high-flying unarmed Predator has used the Vehicle and Dismount Exploitation Radar — VADER — since March 2012 along 150 square miles stretch of desert.” However, the Wall St. Journal reports that more often than not, the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) has trouble keeping their drones airborne.

The French military is looking to buy US Reaper drones.

Iraq has requested American drone strikes against al-Qaeda linked jihadists who ambushed a Syrian convoy in Iraq.

The New Zealand Herald has an article about drones in their domestic airspace and who are allowed to fly them.

The American public are uneasy about domestic drones and the UAV industry knows it. The Boston Globe explains that drone makers are ‘struggling for acceptance.’

From small towns to state legislatures, communities are reacting against domestic drones; communities are considering anti-drone legislation in Rhode Island, Illinois, California, Missouri, Vermont and Minnesota. Assemblymen in New York City have also introduced two bills limiting drone usage.

Of the approximately thirty states considering drone legislation, the detailed provisions of Rhode Island’s restrictions are among the best, according to The Atlantic.

According to Defense.org, the United States Navy plans to “spend $2.31 billion through fiscal 2017 to research and develop the carrier-based drone program

CNN provides some useful numbers on drones. e.g. “41% of U.S. Department of Defense aircraft are unmanned.”

Iowa State University is one of the many universities across the country embracing UAV studies.

Three stories not strictly related to drones drew our attention this week. Spencer Ackerman at Wired.com interviewed Omar Hammami, the “most prominent American jihadi left alive.” More information is available about the controversial big data surveillance system being put into place in New York City. Special operations forces feature prominently in the American military’s post-Afghanistan plans.


Commentary and Analysis

The NYT Editorial Board has come out against drones: “The biggest impediment to change is that the C.I.A.’s role enables a fiction that has suited the United States…”

Micah Zenko at CFR comments on M. Mazzetti’s NYT article on why the CIA stopped torturing and started killing.

Rosa Brooks at Foreign Policy Magazine writes about sticks, stones and drones in an article on ‘high’ versus ‘low’ tech warfare.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal does not support stricter drone legislation in Florida.

The resemblance of supermax prisons to suburban housing developments is the subject of Christoph Gielen’s aerial photography: “‘I am intentionally turning surveillance technology back on the surveillance apparatus of the prison itself — in a sense democratizing the use of surveillance.’”

Know Your Drone

DIY Drones has video of an ArduPilot UAV flying at 15,000 feet in Peru. The Belgian- Peruvian project aims to “study and improve agricultural production in coastal, Andes and Amazon areas of the country.”

Are drone-built buildings our future? A Swiss architecture company thinks they are.

How Drones Date Online,” a fiction piece on The State blog.

The anti-drone hoodie is designed to protect the wearer from the peering thermal sensors of drones.