Dear Johns: Remember the Government Doesn’t Destroy Incidentally Collected Intelligence

The Republican party-goers in Tampa will be surveilled by drones.

This will mark the first time unmanned aerial vehicles will patrol the skies over a national convention, according to an engineer with a Naples company that builds and will operate the drones.

The vehicle, called an Aether Aero, is an eight-bladed vertical takeoff platform that will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to government agencies, according to Curt Winter, an engineer with United Drones.

Presumably they’re being deployed to defend against the “anarchists” the government has already leaked pose a threat to the Convention. Or perhaps they–and United Drones’ unmanned ground vehicles, the Wraiths–will be there just to get delegates all hot and bothered to approve more drone spending.

But the surveillance from the drones will be shared with unnamed government agencies. While that’s probably DHS, the gentlemen delegates publicly soliciting the services of sex workers–or just wandering the streets obviously cheating on their wives–should be warned that the Air Force, at least, permits the “incidental” collection of intelligence on US persons, so long as it isn’t targeted against that US person intentionally. And while they’re not supposed to be able to retrieve that “incidentally” collected intelligence by searching on a US person’s name, that doesn’t mean images “incidentally” collected in Tampa will remain in Tampa.

I’d really hate if any of you war-mongers subsequently had your careers ruined because of out-of-control surveillance capturing you while you’re partying.

9 replies
  1. phred says:

    “Wraiths”, how perfect. I’m sure the techno-nerd geniuses that came up with that name were really really pleased with themselves for their oh-so-clever LOTR reference. Perhaps they should have contemplated the fact that the Ring Wraiths were wholly and irredeemably evil. Might not be such a great selling point.

  2. Frank33 says:

    Police told to arrest Julian Assange ‘under all circumstances’

    BRIEF – EQ. Embassy brief – Summary of current position Re Assange.

    Action required – Assange to be arrested under all circumstances.

    He comes out with dip. immun., as dip bag, in dip bag (risk to life) in dip. vehicle. – ARRESTED.

    Discuss possibilities of distraction. …

  3. BSbafflesbrains says:

    I think any “intelligence” collected will only be used to keep their careers going in the “right” direction. As the Google CEO said recently “you have nothing to fear if you aren’t doing anything wrong”.

  4. EH says:

    @BSbafflesbrains: These agencies have more data than they know what to do with, and the tools, let alone the science, are not up to the task of doing anything with it in anything approaching real-tip. The data will only ever be used in hindsight, after someone does something bad. They will winnow through the data, find their Google searches for “AK47 -rapmusic” and ascribe their motives to that stuff.

  5. Peter VE says:

    I suspect the drone operators should check out this known terrist hideout: 2040 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, Florida

  6. palolololo says:

    That would be even more enjoyable than hurricane Isaac. Hopefully,no one has an outdoor wedding planned anytime soon in Tampa.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Those “wall walker” miniature spy drones will be the proverbial fly on the wall. It seems unlikely they and their operators will be spying solely on legitimate alleged criminal targets any more than J. Edgar Hoover’s personal files were solely about legitimate criminals.

  8. Jessica says:

    From the linked article:
    “”The most serious threat to persons and property during the conventions continues to emanate from anarchist extremists willing to use improvised incendiary devices (IIDs) or improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” the agencies wrote.”

    ‘Continues to emanate’? If by ‘continues’ they mean ‘stuff we’ve overheard’, then ok. But I can’t recall a single IID or IED incident recently, so A+ for the Feds for instilling fear unncessarily.

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