The thought of walking along a secluded stretch of beach to gather one's thoughts, enjoying the feel of the sand and sound of the water -- or perhaps to enjoy some special company -- is literally set to fly out the window.
Australia is looking to introduce a drone beach patrol on North Stradbroke Island in the name of "public safety." If the test is successful, the plan will go nationwide, according to ABC News Australia.
Brett Williamson, head of an organization called Surf Life Saving Australia, would like to see a system of drones that will fly along the coast, including remote beach areas, and be equipped with sirens and flotation buoys that will give the ability to drop into the ocean to provide assistance to those in distress.
The public is always introduced to high-tech surveillance as a means of protecting their security. This friendly face quickly turns to the dark side as the invasiveness increases. Local media uncovered testing of drones within the U.S. in 2007, and additional research revealed tests to have been coordinated over American soil further back than that. Since that time, drones have taken center stage with the emergence of micro-drones and nano-drones that can mimic nature itself.
Governments everywhere are beginning to welcome drones into civilian airspace, in addition to war zones, leaving no place potentially unchecked. Furthermore, the miniaturization of drone surveillance, as well as their relatively low cost of development and operation, is causing them to proliferate at a seemingly exponential rate.
While the darker aspects of this surveillance is still rarely discussed by corporate media outlets, a report on Nightline called "Drones: Who is Watching You?" focused on micro-drones (called by the host as "tiny flying robots") and their versatile applications for people such as real estate agents, the paparazzi, and the police. Now apparently in Australia, they have added beach patrol and aerial surveillance of coal mines, among other applications such as a news gathering media tool.
True to form, the example shown for police (which, keep in mind, was vehemently denied for widespread use just a few years ago), is a 10-pound mini-copter drone deployed out of the back of a police cruiser which is reported to have helped nab a stabbing suspect who had fled into nearby covered terrain - once again focusing on the public safety aspect.
Likewise, we hear the call for autonomous drones to be deployed for natural disasters and for peacekeeping missions, giving rise to a synthetic surveillance and police to augment the already growing physical police state in much of the Western world.
We should keep in mind that even very small drones can be weaponized, like the U.S. Army's “Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System.”
It’s for when the Army needs someone dead from up to six miles away in 30 minutes or less.
How small will the new mini-drone be? The Army’s less concerned about size than it is about the drone’s weight, according to a recent pre-solicitation for businesses potentially interested in building the thing. The whole system — drone, warhead and launch device — has to weigh under five pounds. An operator should be able to carry the future Lethal Miniature Aerial Munition System, already given the acronym LMAMS in a backpack and be able to set it up to fly within two minutes. (Source)Perhaps soon we'll be walking along a beach, feeling the warm sun on our skin, hear a hum and look into a cloudless blue sky to see a daytime version of the synchronized drone swarm in the video below ... arriving to disturb our peace.
Do you agree with Brett Williamson that this type of public safety measure will not intrude on people's privacy?
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