Sunday, March 20, 2005

I'm Sorree - Surveillance Is Good!

My recent post deconstructed the proposals for the new biometric US passport & concluded that it was a precursor to US-wide surveillance. I was wrong, for now at least - it looks like a typical piece of INS idiocy.

DefenseTech reports that the necessary technology still at the early research stage, and underfunded.

A planned demonstration at Ft. Belvoir never came about – or was kept very quiet. Last year, Congress moved to yank funds from the program's budget.

Now it looks as if they have some modest funding, and, guess what, I'm pleased! We needed this yesterday for the urban battles in Iraq, and we'll need it to individually target the Iranian and Syrian thugs. And we're going to need swarms of these things to defend Taiwan, especially if those stealthy German-engined Chines subs manage to creep up on and sink our aircraft carriers with wake-homers.

The technology is mostly do-able. The Israelis have plenty of small drones, so the platforms are there. Sensing is well advanced, the use of LADAR will be a boon in poor visibility. Data transmission is soluble with WiFi to mother ships which are big enough to power satellite up-links. Which leaves the biggest problem: processing all that data from thousands of drones. If I were DARPA, I'd look at some of the smart retail software out there- retailers have been tracking dynamic behavior, and doing clustering for years.

Bottom line, if the price of building this essential defense is the INS gets to track everyone, so what? As the most useless Fed agency, they're not going to do any harm, and it keeps all those tenured folks busy.