ROBORDER: EU and U.S. Testing Drone Swarms to Handle “Illegal Border Activity”

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04-09-19 08:09:00,

By Nicholas West

Here comes Skynet.

Earlier this year in May it was reported by The Intercept that the EU had been working with member states to help roll out a system called ROBORDER that would employ swarms of autonomous drones to patrol air, land and sea for border violations.

The specifics were laid out in a mid-term review and progress report which included:

Ministries of the Interior and Defence from Portugal, Hungary and Greece are testing manned and unmanned platforms for border surveillance. In the EU project ROBORDER, Hungary is interested in securing land borders with an unmanned ground vehicle, while Greece is using a long-range drone and an aircraft. Portugal uses a surface and an underwater drone in the Atlantic.

The drones should operate independently and in swarms. They are equipped with various sensors whose images are combined in a mobile situation centre. Different communication links are examined for transmission.

The Intercept reported that the EU program might be violating the terms of funding due to references made to potential military applications, as well as other ethical concerns about the tech being used in the private sector and getting into “the wrong hands.”

Nevertheless, it appears that the United States has its own plans for drone swarms at its borders.

Defense One reports:

The Customs and Border Protection agency is getting ready to test autonomous drones that can provide situational awareness for agents working between ports of entry.

The agency has been working with colleagues at Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate Silicon Valley Innovation Program to build and test prototypes of Planck Aerosystems’ autonomous small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS. The agencies announced a fourth round of funding Thursday, granting Planck $200,000 to test its prototype in operational environments over the next three to six months.

“Planck’s system capability enables a sUAS to launch from and land on the bed of a moving vehicle, in addition to providing fully autonomous navigation coupled with a securing mechanism, advanced computer vision capabilities and customized communications interfaces,” according to the announcement from S&T.

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Police Testing “Non-Lethal” PepperBall Weapon Despite Calls For More Transparency and Accountability | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

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19-03-19 08:49:00,

By Joe Wright

Several police departments around the U.S. have a new weapon in their arsenal: a PepperBall gun that fires marble-sized munitions filled with high-test pepper spray (see video at end of article).

Police are insisting that this is a new less-than-lethal way of dealing with those who are armed with anything less than a gun and refuse to comply with police directives.  St. Paul, Minnesota is the latest police department considering implementation of the weapon, and they have embarked on a pilot program that officials believe will reduce incidents of excessive force.

As a report from Twin Cities Pioneer Press cites:

“We want to give officers as many options as possible to bring a resolution to a call without having to result in deadly force,” said Senior Cmdr. Kurt Hallstrom, who heads the special operations unit. “It’s not the magic tool that’s going to prevent bad things from happening, but it’s a useful tool with a pretty low level of force.”

However, unless St. Paul has more ethical and well-trained police than other departments, the results are likely not to be as non-lethal as one would hope.

As Twin Cities correctly notes, there already have been deaths associated with the use of PepperBall guns where they have been deployed, calling into question at least how they are being touted as non-lethal or the newer term “less than lethal.”

In New Mexico, an 88-year-old man died after deputies fired a PepperBall gun at him dozens of times.

And in Oklahoma, after jailers shot PepperBall at a 40-year-old man, he died of “agitated delirium due to acute methamphetamine intoxication” with “multiple pepper ball injuries” as a contributing factor, according to the Oklahoman newspaper.

Nevertheless, it appears that St. Paul is already predicting success not only in using the PepperBall gun in presumably unavoidable altercations with deranged or violent individuals, but potentially at protests.

Police use of PepperBall during demonstrations also has been the subject of national attention. But St. Paul police said they will not be using it at protests during the pilot project.

“It might be something we consider down the road,

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FBI Testing Amazon’s Facial Recognition Software

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05-01-19 11:45:00,

The CIA isn’t the only federal agency making use of Amazon’s vast offerings – as the FBI has been testing the Seattle-based megacorp’s facial recognition software – Amazon Rekognition, as a potential method of scanning vast amounts of video surveillance footage which the agency routinely gathers during investigations. 

The pilot program was launched in early 2018 according to FBI officials, after several high-profile counterterrorism investigations which strained the FBI’s current technological capabilities, reports Nextgov.com

One example of the FBI’s struggle to keep up with data was during the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting in which 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada killed Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured 422. As part of the investigation, the FBI gathered a petabyte worth of data (one million gigabytes) – much of it comprising video from cellphones and surveillance cameras. 

“We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere Stephen Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen, speaking from a Las Vegas Amazon Web Services conference in November. She described how the FBI has been using Amazon’s cloud platform to carry out counterterrorism probes – noting that Amazon Rekognition could have processed the same amount of data from the Las Vegas shooting “in 24 hours,” roughly three weeks faster than it took human FBI agents to find Paddock’s face amid a mountain of video evidence. 

“Think about that,” Halvorsen said, noting that technology like Amazon Rekognition frees up FBI agents and analysts to apply their skills to other aspects of the investigation or other cases.

“The cases don’t stop, the threats keep going,” Halvorsen added. “Being able to not pull people off that and have computers do it is very important.” –Nextgov.com

Amazon provides a significant number of services to the US government – primarily through its cloud business, AWS, which counts the Defense Department and the CIA among its customers. 

While it’s unclear how the facial recognition software may be used in the public sector, the Daily Beast reported in October that Amazon had pitched the software to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement last summer,

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