Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above

Since January, police have been testing an aerial surveillance system adapted from the surge in Iraq. And they neglected to tell the public.

A company called Persistent Surveillance Systems, based in Dayton, Ohio, provided the service to the police, and the funding came from a private donor. No public disclosure of the program had ever been made.

McNutt believes the technology would be most effective if used in a transparent, publicly acknowledged manner; part of the system’s effectiveness, he said, rests in its potential to deter criminal activity. … In 2006 he gave the military Angel Fire, a wide-area, live-feed surveillance system that could cast an unblinking eye on an entire city. … This produced a searchable, constantly updating photographic map that was stored on hard drives. His elevator pitch was irresistible: “Imagine Google Earth with TiVo capability.”

Even six months after the flights began, some Baltimore police officers still didn’t know exactly how the surveillance program worked.

[McNutt]’s exasperated when his system is criticized not for what it does, but for its potential. Yet for critics like Stanley, the two can’t be separated. … McNutt says he’s sure his system can withstand a public unveiling and that the more people know about what his cameras can—and can’t—do, the fewer worries they’ll have. But the police ultimately decide who and what should be tracked.

Source: Secret Cameras Record Baltimore’s Every Move From Above


“I said to myself, ‘This is where the rubber hits the road. The technology has finally arrived, and Big Brother, which everyone has always talked about, is finally here.’ ”

— Jay Stanley, ACLU senior policy analyst and privacy expert

The War on Cash – The Long and Short

Banks, governments, credit card companies and fintech evangelists all want us to believe our cashless future is inevitable and good. But this isn’t a frictionless utopia says Brett Scott, and it’s time to fight back

‘Cashless society’ is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”.

The future presented by self-styled innovation gurus has no scope for flexible, unpredictable or invisible people. They represent analogue backwardness. The future is a world of endless consumer choice built upon an inescapable digital uniformity of automated rules, a matrix outside which you can neither exist nor think.

We face creating an entire generation of people who do not know what it feels like to not be monitored.

Source: The War on Cash – The Long and Short

Is Obama’s Drone War Moral? – The Atlantic

The ethics of defensive killing

If the government can’t make a full accounting to its people why it is killing on their behalf, it cannot kill morally.

Source: Is Obama’s Drone War Moral? – The Atlantic


Is it morally justified for a government to carry out a policy of targeted killings against proposed threats where we don’t know what the policy is, we don’t know who the targets are, we don’t know what the criteria for the targets are, what evidence they have to carry it out, and what their standards are?

– Sari Kisilevsky, philosopher of law and ethics at Queens College, CUNY