In the US, the media covered a story of a Predator drone being used for surveillance - on suspected cattle rustlers involved in a police standoff - by US Customs and Border Protection. It was billed as the first predator-assisted arrest in the US. With the implications that it isn't to be the last.
According to the LA Times piece, Congress first authorized Customs and Border Protection to buy unarmed Predators in 2005.
If rapidly improving imaging technology on drones are linked to facial recognition software (something Facebook is using, and Apple has a new patent on its Low Threshold Face Recognition) then the result will be the rapid erosion of anonymity in these populations. A drone camera (and they are now being built at 1.8 gigapixel definition) at 45 degrees to the ground observed would be able to scan a human face. Law enforcement is going 3-D.
|Big Brother never had it so good|
- recent Games have increasingly taken place in and contributed to a climate of fear, heightened security and surveillance; and
- that this has often been to the detriment of democracy, transparency and human rights, with serious implications for international, national and local norms and laws.
Expect the run-up to 2012 London to be dominated by security versus civil liberties debates, airport queues, organized crime initiatives and synchronised swimming tickets.