The Rise of the Machines?

Big Brother is not only watching us, he’s apparently aiming at us, too.

Drones have been used overseas to target and kill high-level terror leaders and are also being used along the U.S.-Mexico border in the battle against illegal immigration. But now, these drones are starting to be used domestically at an increasing rate.

The Federal Aviation Administration has allowed several police departments to use drones across the U.S.

They are controlled from a remote location and use infrared sensors and high-resolution cameras.

Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Texas told The Daily that his department is considering using rubber bullets and tear gas on its drone.

“Those are things that law enforcement utilizes day in and day out and in certain situations it might be advantageous to have this type of system on the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle),” McDaniel told The Daily.

The use of potential force from drones has raised the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“It’s simply not appropriate to use any of force, lethal or non-lethal, on a drone,” Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU, told CBSDC.

Crump feels one of the biggest problems with the use of drones is the remote location where they are operated from.

“When the officer is on the scene, they have full access to info about what has transpired there,” Crump explained to CBSDC. “An officer at a remote location far away does not have the same level of access.”

The ACLU is also worried about potential drones malfunctioning and falling from the sky, adding that they are keeping a close eye on the use of these unmanned aircraft by police departments.

“We don’t need a situation where Americans feel there is in an invisible eye in the sky,” Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at ACLU, told CBSDC.

Joshua Foust, fellow at the American Security Project, feels domestic drones should not be armed.

“I think from a legal perspective, there is nothing problematic about floating a drone over a city,” Foust told CBSDC. “In terms of getting armed drones, I would be very nervous about that happening right now.”

McDaniel says that his community should not be worried about the department using a drone.

“We’ve never gone into surveillance for sake of surveillance unless there is criminal activity afoot,” McDaniel told The Daily. “Just to see what you’re doing in your backyard pool — we don’t care.”

And in a related story…

Getting a speeding ticket without ever being pulled over could soon be a reality in Memphis.

A big step toward speed cameras happened Tuesday, when the City Council approved the measure in committee.

If approved in two weeks by the full council, we could see speed cameras as soon as July, according to the City Clerk Thomas Long. He says there will be a software upgrade to the existing 25 red light cameras to allow them to register speeding as well.

The city would also buy $300,000 worth of mobile speed cameras to move about the city. That works out to eight to nine cameras.

They’re projected to bring in one million dollars next year.

City Councilman Myron Lowrey says this will be a new crime fighting tool for the Memphis Police Department, “Speed cameras will relieve some police officers, because they don’t have to be sitting there watching or clocking you with the radar gun, it’s done automatically. Technology improves our productivity.”

An image of each violation will be viewed by a Memphis Police Officer to be sure of its accuracy.

On the subject of cameras…have you ever wondered just how many surveillance cameras there are watching you and me in the Land of the Free?

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the market for video surveillance cameras boomed in the United States and around the world. Shocked by the worst attack on U.S. soil in 60 years, everyone from small-business owners to executives of giant multinationals rushed to get advanced security measures in place.

A decade later, there haven’t been any more major terrorist attacks in the United States, but there are an estimated 30 million more security cameras. Instead of being used to prevent terrorist attacks, experts say cameras are more often used for mundane purposes like nabbing criminals or calling out bad behavior at the office — if they’re used at all.

Is Big Brother keeping us safe, or, could trusting our lives to automatons eventually lead to a dark and ominous future?

By the time Skynet became self-aware it had spread into millions of computer servers across the planet. Ordinary computers in office buildings, dorm rooms; everywhere. It was software; in cyberspace. There was no system core; it could not be shutdown. The attack began at 6:18 PM, just as he said it would. Judgment Day, the day the human race was almost destroyed by the weapons they’d built to protect themselves. I should have realized it was never our destiny to stop Judgment Day, it was merely to survive it, together. The Terminator knew; he tried to tell us, but I didn’t want to hear it. Maybe the future has been written. I don’t know; all I know is what the Terminator taught me; never stop fighting. And I never will. The battle has just begun.

No, I haven’t lost my mind…yet.

I’m just sayin’…

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