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Plans To Fool Domestic Drones Already In Progress

It`s official: drones are going to start making their first victims in less than two years. Obama has already approved legislation that accelerates the introduction of domestic surveillance drones in the U.S. Simply by signing the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Obama has just put 312,000,000 Americans under permanent surveillance. And he`s not the only one jubilating at the thought of complete and total control over citizens.

According to RTAmerica, over 30 states have already showed interest in the program. Soon the FAA will have to pick a half-dozen locations for drones to start spying. But no worries, soon enough there will be no droneless state in the U.S. Estimates say that about 30,000 non-military UAVs will be surveilling us from the sky by the end of the decade. Which means that at least $1,500,000,000 will be wasted. This is only the budget for buying 30,000 drones. Add operating costs of $3.36/hour to it and you realise this is nothing more than a huge burning hole in the budget.

Why am I saying this is just a waste of money? Because even though these drones haven`t even started spying on us, anti-drone plans have already circled the Internet. And I`m talking about show-off`s posting science-fiction schemes on shady forums. I mean realistic plans that are already in progress. Here are two examples:

Anti-Drone Clothing

Anti-Drone Clothing


Artist Adam Harvey created a counter-surveillance clothing line, Stealth Wear, that can thwart the thermal-imaging technology used by drones. He also invented a phone accessory called OFF Pocket, that can block all incoming and outgoing communication from your phone. And these are just two of his most recent work. Harvey’s got a history with privacy protection. His previous works include CamoFlash, a set of LEDs that trigger when it detects camera flashes (very useful to movie and music stars when they want to get away from the paparazzi) and CV Dazzle, a project that uses makeup and hairstyles to confuse facial-recognition systems. In other words, the man knows what he`s doing.

Total surveillance is a term I first heard from Anders Sandberg during a presentation at a Tabula Rasa conference (…) He predicts that by 2050 a country can execute total surveillance on a population for .01% of their GDP.

According to his research, this means that the U.S., for example, can easily record audio/video 24/7 of every citizen. In the next decade, sensors and cameras will get cheaper and cheaper, just as phones and computers have. The more they`re used, the cheaper they get. And if Obama is willing to spend over $1,500,000,000 in times of economic plummet, just imagine the amount of surveillance devices he`ll buy when they get cheaper… But here`s something Mr. President hasn`t thought of yet: if more creative people like Adam Harvey develop ways to trick drones, all his precious UAVs will be as useful as a pile of garbage.

“What I think we don’t realize is that surveillance is taking place almost everywhere we go now, and it should be normal for us to dress in a way that is conscious of this. At some point, it might be weird to not have an OFF Pocket or a thermally reflective garment.” (Adam Harvey for Wired)

Now this is a man who found a solution and is ready to turn it into norm. Just like this student who created an entire drone-free city plan:

 Drone-free city plan


Asher Kohn, a 25 year-old law student, designed Shura City — a place where surveillance has zero effect on its citizens. According to Daily Mail, Kohn uses architecture to counter surveillance and targeted attacks by the remote-controlled aircraft.

“I was assigned “military architecture” and realized that for every huge military advance that made it easier to blow up urban areas, there was usually a passive response invented within a generation. (…) So I was wondering what the response would be for drones if drones are the next great advance like artillery and airplanes were.

The goal is not defense-through-hardening, but defense-through-confusion. (…) By turning the entire community into a closed circuit, drones targeting individuals will not be able to select and detect the individuals they desire once they enter the city.”



I must admit, Obama`s hurry to sign the FAA Modernization and Reform Act really got me thinking about a worst-case-scenario, but I`m glad to see there are talented and intelligent Americans out there who are already one step ahead. As Kohn says, for every abusive measure the government takes, there is always (at least) a solution that people develop to protect themselves.


By Alec Deacon


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One Response to Plans To Fool Domestic Drones Already In Progress

  • In all conflicts people develope counter measures. Only the fool thinks they can come up with a sure system. Well we have a lot of fools in power so they are very confident.


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