Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Empire strikes back, unmanned drone makers plan propaganda campaign.

Looks like Big Drone is having its profit margin cut into by all the uproar from us stoopids who don't want the Eye In The Sky staring in our windows. They say they're going to have a propaganda campaign to counter all the bad publicity.

In the aftermath of conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer's observation that the first person to shoot down a surveillance drone on U.S. soil will be a "folk hero," the drone industry has committed itself to launching a propaganda blitz aimed at bombarding the public with positive messages about the technology.

That's from Infowars, a pretty right wing site. But he's quoting a piece from Salon, a major Left-wing site. Here's what they said:

Stung by mounting hostility from the left and right, America's drone industry is fighting back.

"We're going to do a much better job of educating people about unmanned aviation, the good and the bad," said Michael Toscano, president of the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the industry's trade group in Washington. "We're working on drafting the right message and how to get it out there."

The P.R. blitz comes after drones suffered a round of negative attention last week. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called for a ban on drones in U.S. airspace, and two other conservative commentators endorsed the idea of shooting down unmanned aircraft flown by U.S. law enforcement agencies. (Opposition to the U.S. government's deployment of unmanned vehicles had previously come from left-liberal groups concerned about civilian casualties in the drone war in Pakistan and potential threats to civil liberties at home.) The nation also witnessed drone "scares": An unidentified flying object nearly collided with a plane over Denver, and rumors circulated of a surveillance drone flying near the NATO summit in Illinois.

I think UAVs are an awesome thing for soldiers to have on hand when fighting a war. The ability to fly into heavy air defenses, inside buildings, to loiter all day until your target appears, these are excellent things for soldiers.

Weapons of war being used by police to keep civilian populations in line, that's a different story. That never turns out well.  If the cops want to fly over things, use cameras to snoop, hand out traffic fines, shoot missiles at things, let them use a frickin' airplane.

The Phantom


WiFi Lunchbox Guy said...

Infowars is not exaggerating this time.

Back in 2011, a Houston county police department bought weaponizable drones for border surveillance. The manufacturer bragged about how they could be armed, and the kewl facial recognition gear they could be kitted with.

If the Americans can't torpedo this campaign they're screwed.

The Phantom said...

Nice link WiFi. There's some bunch of cops in Texas want to arm these things with beanbags and whatnot.

How about a shotgun that fires taser slugs?


WiFi Lunchbox Guy said...

"Non-Lethal" "bean bags". Sounds like something out of a school gym class, doesn't it?

For bean bag, read stun grenade loaded with plastic shot. Which means it can be trivially switched with conventional, i.e. lethal, grenades.

WiFi Lunchbox Guy said...

Holy spit!

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell: "it will prove important to ensure the state maintains Americans' civil liberties, such as privacy, if it adds drones to its law enforcement arsenal."