The drones are coming.
Electronic Countermeasures is a project by Liam Young of think tank Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, working with design studio Unknown Fields Division, and Eleanor Saitta and Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu of Superflux. The project is essentially an autonomous, roaming Internet swarm, constructed from repurposed UAVs.
Legislation just signed by President Obama directs the Federal Aviation Administration to open the skies to remotely controlled drones within the next three years. It will begin in 90 days with police and first responders having authority to fly smaller drones of less than 4.4 pounds at altitudes under 400 feet. Gradually, all drones are to be allowed by Sept. 30, 2015.
In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams — for construction, surveying disasters and far more.
But these little flying video and audio recorders, paired with powerful data analysis tools, make previously unthinkable levels of surveillance possible, even easy. Before the Internet, tracking someones reading and shopping activities would have been nearly impossible without a private detective.