Curious as to how the Defense Department could be spying on you next? PBS checked in with DARPA about the latest in drone camera technology for the NOVA special "Rise of the Drones," including the world's highest-resolution camera.
Actually seeing the sensor on ARGUS-IS, or Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is still classified, but the basics of how it works have been deemed fit for public consumption.
ARGUS-IS uses 368 imaging chips like those found in cell phone cameras, to stitch together a 1.8 billion pixel video. That means from 17,500 feet in the air, ARGUS-IS can see someone on the ground waving their arms. And it generates that kind of high-definition video for an area 15 square miles across. It can see a bird flying through a parking lot from more than three miles in the air.
It can store a million terabytes of video a day, up to 5,000 hours of footage, so soon drones will not only be able to see everything that happens on the ground, but also keep that record.
Whether or not ARGUS has been used in the field is still classified. Let's get real, though: Does this cool a toy get put in a corner?
It's crazy how fast technology can develop. I for one want laws in place so that ordinary citizens cannot be under UAV surveillance without a warrant at least.
While not planned, I am sure the NSA will add this to their toolbox of humanity surveillance.
I like it and wouldn't mind everyone being under surveillance 24/7. Seriously, unless you're a criminal, what does the average person have to hide? Sure, a car could get caught speeding, but I could see those kinds of things being waved if its caught by this kind of surveillance. Automated driving will take over soon anyway so that kind of scenario might not even happen. So yeah, I'm totally ready for this kind of tech to start happening if it hasn't already.
15 square miles across? 15 miles on a side? or 15 square miles? 15 square miles or 225 square miles?
If DARPA let the details out, this is old news indeed. Remember, it was only after the Air Force retired the SR-71 that they admitted it existed. Things like this are also why I like cloudy or foggy days.
Love the ideological thinking that this only works against you if you're a criminal or doing something wrong, but imagine a totalitarian or criminal enterprise having access to this kind of technology. The negative repercussions of this getting into the wrong hands is pretty extreme. Imagine if Hitler or Stalin had this power? Things would be very different today.
What frightens me is how cavalier people are about the country potentially becoming a surveillance state. Comments like "only criminals should worry" are incredibly naive. Governments with these kinds of tools have the power to define criminal in ways that are quite alarming. Even without these tools, there are countries like Singapore where people are over-monitored and even the most ridiculous behaviors are criminalized severely. As it is, we now have this country criminalizing children using chalk to draw on sidewalks. Do you really feel comfortable having drones monitoring for your children drawing on sidewalks? Think it through! These types of tools can easily be abused, and it is ridiculous to surrender your right to privacy just because you happen to think that at this moment you are not defined as a criminal. We have helicopters flying over Miami shooting machine guns (with blanks) scaring the crap out of people (google it if you haven't heard about this). This kind of militarization should alarm people. We should be vigilant before things get really creepy.
I saw a special on TV about this, kind of scary very big brother Orwellian. That 1984 song by Rockwell "Somebody's Watching Me," is reality today.
Wonder what you can see when 50 or 60 miles up where you are in international airspace? Has to be some transparency on this - maybe all recorded and viewed footage should be publicly available. Probably only a matter of time until this is a google maps upgrade anyway.
You can check that on google earth. I presume it depends entirely on how clear the air is at the time. A couple of days ago above Beijing you would have seen nothing. But you can rest assured, from that altitude it would be unlikely you got real time info.
I would not be surprised if what the Air Force showed us here in this video was already quite obsolete.
Twenty years ago, there were rumors that satellites ...(much higher than 17,000 feet)...could read the license plates on cars. Again...That was 20 years ago.
So I am guessing that current technology can probably zoom in on the color of your eyes from the same distance.
Or perhaps even capture the precise combination of the ridges on your key as you are putting it into its lock....which means the government could copy all the keys to your house without actually having possession of them.
Scary possibility. I am sure it can be done and, very likely, already has been done.
Though come to think of it, 5,000 hours of HD a day, even if we figure 60 GB for raw footage an hour, is at most 300,000 GB, which is a mere 300 Terabytes, not the million Terabytes quoted in the article.
Im already making my FUCK YOU DARPA sign.
I thought a day had 24 hours, how do you store 5000 hours in a day. Yeah I know, multiple cameras.
Since ARGUS has high resolution camera, the good news is that the sign only needs to be a few feet long; you can probably paint it on your car's roof, that way they can track the message in real-time as you drive around.
I inmagine by the time the public is informed of a military technology, this technology is 10 years behind.
If I should guess, they can clearly see me in complete detail and after watching me for a while walking about with my body language\gestures, the car I walk to, the places I go in general will identify me easily, then continue to track me.
The USA NSA Government is watch all of us, tracking and listening to all our communications in the world in real time.
before I looked at the receipt which said $4956, I be certain that my neighbour realie erning money part-time at their laptop.. there great aunt has been doing this for less than a year and just now cleared the depts on there appartment and purchased a great new GMC. I went here......
I'm sure that by now this technology is far more advanced than what is in the video above, and they may even already have entire countries under surveillance. As scary as this is, it is important for us to know this info, so they can move forward with using the cameras for good, i.e. criminal evidence, search & rescues, etc. Maybe it's just the conspiracy theorist in me, but I tend to think the imaging will be used for more bad than good. I just think that you give humans in high positions of power the power to keep track of entire populations, and you have a recipe for disaster.
In the word of Albert Einstein-
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
"And in those days wise men walked the earth, and built great nations. Now see what jackasses men have become."
The problem with advanced tech with no laws protecting citizens from it, is the inherent flaw of believing the people using it have only your best interest in mind.
I can think of a few hundred ways this tech could be misused to manipulate people or spy on people's privacy. Looking into your backyard or thru your windows...lurking. Yeah, then there is the possibility of it being used for crimes or to say, orchestrate a roadblock on someone who might have a court date or some other important event. Or to spy on people to try to dig up dirt for a smear campaign.
Don't trust people at any level, they are even less trustworthy at the top.
And yeah, I'm sure this thing can actually zero down to facial recognition level by now. That video is 90's tech.
Attaché a guided smart rocket to this drone and Bada-bing
Bada-BOOM to the terriost!
I believe bin Laden number two guy in his chain of command was using his cell and via the USA monitoring, dropped a bunker busting bomb on his single and destroy a 1 circle area. By the time he heard the bomb coming, there was nowhere to run.
YES USA does monitor all communications in real time in the world.
YES the USA drones are armed with smart guided intelligent rockets too.
i like my privacy and i'll keep it that way.
Sometimes I think the military is more advance than it reveals itself to be.
Except North Korea
Hopefully, the Americans don't use this to spy on other countries. We already have Google satellite view for that.
Spying on you? Really? With more than 300 million people across the US, you think they are watching YOU? That's ridiculous. If the footage was used for anything more than just testing the technology, I feel like it would be used for evidence in a murder case or something similar. Expensive technology like this isn't created so that Bob from DARPA can see what you're eating for lunch... your chicken curry isn't that interesting.
I would respectfully ask you to leave our country if you enjoy living in a police state....that is not what America is intended to be (though sadly it is beginning to look more like one).
The average person has EVERYTHING to lose if we continue down this path. And if you do not agree I suggest reading about countries that do display elements of totalitarian social control. It's not pretty.
And are you suggesting speeders are not criminals? Though I agree, I would also point out that people that respectfully smoke marijuana in the privacy of there own home (the overwhelming majority of smokers that is) are also not criminals but you probably want to throw them away in a cage to be watered and fed. Not turning this into a drug war debate, but just pointing out that there are many things that are technically against the law that do not make people criminals.
So where do you draw the line?
To those who enjoy a free society this technology is unbelievably frightening.
Technological advance usually happens whether we like it or not and every technology can be used for good or for bad. The key is doing everything possible to make sure it is only used for good. For example, we can make sure that all forms of torture are banned, as well as capital punishment. We can require warrants for the ability to spy on someone. We can reduce criminal sentences such as drug sentences or better yet decriminalize them. We can pass laws giving "terrorists" right to civilian trials. You never know when you might be considered a terrorist and at that point you lose your basic human rights. We can also reinforce freedom of speech and even freedom of thought rights. This sounds crazy, but it may even be good to pass laws banning the government from manipulating peoples thoughts in any way. We never know when they will have to capability to influence thoughts (in other ways than propaganda), they may even have some capability now. I believe I read an article the other day in which researches were able to have an affect on mice thoughts.
In response to Mainarynox, I think it definitely can be used for good, but we must make sure it is not used for evil. You never know when you may be wrongfully accused of something.
Something to think about...
"Since 1976, over 1,200 executions occurred in the U.S., but 138 innocent people were also released from death row during that time. That's one exoneration for every nine executions.
Sometimes, the exonerations come too late. In the book In Spite of Innocence, published by Northeastern University Press in 1992, researchers found 23 cases since 1900 where innocent people were executed. More recently, in 2009, the Texas case of Cameron Todd Willingham gained international attention when a New Yorker magazine article revealed that flawed forensic evidence gathering and analysis resulted in Willingham's wrongful conviction and execution for an arson he did not commit – Texas executed an innocent man."