Tag Archives: technology

Saudi Arabia joins the killer drone arms race

Saudi Arabia joins the killer drone arms race

The US is still responsible for the vast majority of drone strikes, but that may have more to do with politics than capability. A GAO report from 2012 found that more than 75 countries have some form of drone system. Most are unarmed but some, like the systems used in Australia, Japan, and Singapore, could be retrofitted for military purpose. More importantly, the US’ use of drones — more than 50 strikes in 2013 alone— seems to have whetted a global appetite for combat drones. ‘If you think of this as part of a broader trend of the proliferation of military robotics, then the idea that we were going to have a monopoly on this kind of technology was always a bit far-fetched,’ says University of Pennsylvania political scientist Michael Horowitz. ‘The American monopoly on drones is over and probably never really existed.'”

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Robots could replace thousands of soldiers as U.S. army looks to cut 50,000 troops

National Post | News

The U.S. army is considering replacing thousands of soldiers with robots as it adjusts to sweeping troop cuts.

A senior American general has said he is considering reducing the size of the army’s brigade combat teams by a quarter and replacing some of the lost troops with robots and remote-controlled vehicles. Ideas under discussion include proposals for manned lorries and transporters to be replaced by supply trains of robot vehicles.

Generals are studying proposals as the U.S. army is to slim down from 540,000 to about 490,000 soldiers by the end of next year. Some reports suggest it could dip below 450,000 by the end of the decade.

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General Robert Cone, head of the army’s training and doctrine command, is considering cutting standard brigade combat teams from about 4,000 soldiers to 3,000, according to Defense News, a US military magazine. He told a seminar: “I’ve got…

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The future of war: inside UK drone command

The future of war: inside UK drone command

“The UK’s use of drones is currently much more limited than in the United States. All of the UK’s drones are operated by the armed forces, and there is at the moment no British equivalent of the CIA’s drone programme which, according to the rights group Reprieve, has killed more than 4,700 people in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. These deaths, says Reprieve, amount to summary execution without trial.

Still, Reprieve says the UK shouldn’t be let off the hook. It’s a key ally of the US, and until recently the UK’s Reaper drone operations were controlled from Creech Airforce Base in Nevada. Roughly half of them still are. The close symbiosis between the two countries’ drone know-how sets off alarm bells for those who want more transparency and accountability on the technology’s use. “

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The NSA is Even Spying on Computers That Aren’t Online

Swampland

A computer doesn’t need to be online for the National Security Agency to take a peek.

The spy agency has managed to sneak surveillance software onto almost 100,000 computers worldwide, and is even able to use computers that aren’t connected to the Internet for spying and cyberattacks, the New York Times reports. The NSA relies on secret channels of radio waves that are transmitted from tiny circuits and USB cards implanted by NSA-friendly spies or manufacturers to snoop on offline computers.

The NSA targets include units of the Chinese army, Russian military networks, systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, European Union trade institutions, as well as U.S. partners like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the Times reports, in the latest details to emerge from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks.

The spying agency said it does not use implantation software or its radio frequency technology inside…

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I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

I worked on the U.S. Drone Program–here’s what really happens

“What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: ‘The feed is so pixelated, what if it’s a shovel, and not a weapon?’ I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian’s life all because of a bad image or angle.”

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