Monday, July 15, 2013

Watchers in the sky

Alfred W. McCoy -- some of you will know his magisterial The Politics of Heroin -- has written an excellent history of the growth of the American surveillance state. Toward the end, he mentions a few things you probably don't know, even if you've been following this stuff...
In the stratosphere, close enough to Earth for audiovisual surveillance, the Pentagon is planning to launch an armada of 99 Global Hawk drones - each equipped with high-resolution cameras to surveil all terrain within a 100-mile radius, electronic sensors to intercept communications, and efficient engines for continuous 24-hour flight.

Within a decade, the US will likely deploy this aerospace shield, advanced cyberwarfare capabilities, and even vaster, more omnipresent digital surveillance networks that will envelop the Earth in an electronic grid capable of blinding entire armies on the battlefield, atomizing a single suspected terrorist, or monitoring millions of private lives at home and abroad.
We are entering a new world in which dissent is something we are permitted, if and when it pleases the Establishment.

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