Pentagon is flying balloons for spying on people: Details hereLast updated on Aug 05, 2019, 06:29 pm
Amid privacy-related debacles, the Pentagon is testing a new technology for mass-surveillance - balloons.
A new report from The Guardian has revealed that the US Military is flying solar balloons as part of an effort to spy on people in six American states.
But, worry not, the program is not aimed at breaking into your life but at tracking down criminal activities.
Monitoring criminal activity from the stratosphere
In order to curb illegal activity in any given area, law enforcement has to track criminal movement and monitor their hubs.
It's the basic rule, but the thing is, present-day surveillance solutions, like drones, cost a lot.
This is exactly what the Pentagon is looking to solve with solar-powered balloons that would take to the Stratosphere for comprehensive monitoring.
How these balloons would work
As test-related documents filed with Federal Communications Commission indicate, solar-powered balloons would fly up to an altitude of 65,000 feet in a targeted area.
Then, their hi-tech radars and camera systems would come into action to monitor individual cars and boats moving in the area for an extended period.
This would ultimately help authorities "locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats."
Balloons would detect during day and night
Going by media reports, the balloons would be able to surveil multiple vehicles simultaneously, even during night or rough weather conditions. Plus, their controllers will have the flexibility to adjust the location to get a better view of potential suspects.
Tests active over six US states
As of now, a total of 25 advanced surveillance balloons are covering an area of 402km, flying over portions of six American states - South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Central Illinois.
The tests had started last month and will continue until September, according to The Guardian report.
Perhaps, after September, the Pentagon will expand the test to other regions too.
Is this a privacy concern for US citizens?
Officially, the balloon program is for tracking criminal activity (like where suspects fled after an incident), but there are some concerns of a privacy breach.
According to experts cited by the Quartz, the balloons are being used to collect all kinds of data from the road, like "who's driving to the union house, the church, the mosque, the Alzheimer's clinic."