Weekend Roundup 6/17

News Trending Now

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, has accused his own military of colluding with the United States to secretly allow drone strikes to be carried out in the country: “The policy of protesting against drone strikes for public consumption, while working behind the scenes to make them happen, is not on.” (The New American)

After a meeting with CIA director John Brennan, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Ben Emmerson said he expected a “significant reduction” in the number of strikes. “With the drawdown of military operations in Afghanistan,” he explained, “I would expect to see a significant reduction in drones for targeted killing by the United States worldwide.” (The Guardian)

The German defense minister, Thomas de Maiziere, survived a no-confidence vote in the Bundestag following his failed bid to develop a European version of the surveillance drone, the Global Hawk. (DW.de)

Meanwhile, three of Europe’s biggest defense companies released a statement urging EU governments to develop drone programs. “European sovereignty and independence in the management of information and intelligence would be guaranteed while at the same time delivering a robust system resilient against cyber attacks,” the three companies explained. (France 24)

Drones were used in the Czech Republic and Hungary to monitor the recent flooding there. (Wall Street Journal)

The National Post reported that, as early as the 1990’s, the Sicilian mafia tested ways to kill targets from the sky using remote-controlled planes.

In a recent interview with Russia Today, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, defended the massive surveillance program run by the American National Security Agency and declined to criticize the use of drones by President Obama. (Washington Post)

A man in Seattle is accused of using a camera-equipped drone to spy on a woman. He claims that he was doing “research.” (CBS Seattle)

Gizmodo published video footage of Turkish police shooting down a small quadcopter drone in Istanbul during the ongoing protests there.


Commentary, Analysis and Art

Vanity Fair profiles James Bridle, the artist at the forefront of “The New Aesthetic,” a new art movement which the magazine describes as a preoccupation with “the identifiable places and moments where the digital erupts into the physical.”

In light of the ongoing push for immigration reform in Washington, NPR reports on the expanding program of surveillance drones over the U.S.-Mexico border. The immigration bill currently under consideration calls for 24/7 drone surveillance at the border.

Doug Castro, the co-founder of IDENT, an unmanned systems company, explains to the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. government is pushing drones for too many applications. “While there is a need for drones today,” he argues, “IDENT believes that they are only needed and should only be used when a mission is going into harms way.”

Quartz gives a recent history the use of drones by protesters, from Occupy to Taksim.

In a thorough paper for the Harvard Law Review, John Villasenor explores the legal implications surrounding drones and privacy and considers some of the legal questions that will arise from the availability of new unmanned platforms.

Bruce Upbin, writing for Forbes, considers two future visions of the drone. On the one hand, the optimists at Matternet imagine using drones to deliver goods such as medicine to previously inaccessible parts of the developing world; on the other, Daniel Suarez warns us of the dangers of autonomous warfare.


Know Your Drone

‘Game of Drones’ takes paintball to a new aerial dimension with armed quadcopters. (The Telegraph)

A group of students at Northeastern University developed a drone that seeks out radio signals. The drone has potential applications for “disaster relief, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and stolen goods recovery.”

Researchers at Oregon State University are studying the effectiveness of Hawk Eye drones for assessing crop health in potato fields. (OPB)

Meanwhile, University of California, Davis researchers have successfully tested a crop-dusting drone. (ABC Local News)

Brazilian police have announced that they will use drones to boost security at the upcoming Confederations Cup. (The Daily Mail)

The end of waitstaff? A London restaurant is using drones to deliver food to tables. (News.com.au)


Center for the Study of the Drone Roundup

Arthur Holland Michel learns to fly a drone over the Rockaways with the couple behind Tushevs Aerials.

(Photo Credit: Reuters)