Update on the wide open frontier of technology – 12/21

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Lots of amazing things going on in the technology open frontier: military countermeasures to combat drones, registration requirement for small drones goes into effect today, and lots of federal agencies use cellphone spying technology.

12/14 – Space War – Venom could address UAV threat to ground forces

The Army is developing a mobile system that can identify and track small UAVs, then relay that information to other nearby units, some of which can later be equipped with anti-UAV weapons. So as you ponder how squad or company level UAVs could radically changing the battlefield, think about the countermeasures already in development.

12/15 – Kelly Philips Erb at Forbes – FAA Announces Registration Requirement & New ‘Drone Tax’ Rules are out and registration can begin. The registration flows to the owner which will cover all the drones owned by the registered person. Fee is $5 for a three-year coverage. Only required info is name, home address and e-mail address. Fee waived until 1/20/16.

12/14 – Wall Street Journal – FAA to Require Most Drones to Be Registered and Marked – Drones larger than half a pound (.55#) have to be registered. Article points out that leaves palm-sized drones exempt. Drones purchased before the regs go into effect have to be registered by 2/19/16. Drones purchased after 12/21/15 have to be registered before they are flown for the first time.

10/26 – Kelly Phillips Erb at Forbes – IRS Joins FBI, DEA and Other Federal Agencies With Access to Cellphone Surveillance Technology – A product called Stingray mimics a cellphone tower which allows it to trick cellphones within radio reach to send a reply signal which identifies the phone, user, and other info. This allows locating and tracking a specific target. It also identifies and tracks all phones within distance of the signal.

Article points out that The Guardian has confirmed through invoices obtained through FOIA requests that the IRS has started purchasing Stingray equipment. They join a long and growing list of federal agencies using Stingray, including FBI, DEA, ICE, U.S. Marshals, ATF , Army, Navy, USMC, National Guard, Special Ops, and NSA.

Several media sources mentioned in the article report there is a long list of state and local police agencies using the tracking technology.

The privacy concern is this accumulates a huge amount of information about a huge number of people who are not under suspicion. All of this is done without a search warrant. With the near zero cost of data storage, the information gathered will likely never be deleted.

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