Thursday, March 31, 2011

surveillance of the Canadian border by the US



I found the video above, about the possible uses for unmanned drones to police people through ongoing surveillance, when I was looking for more information about the US drones patrolling stretches of the US/Canada border. The video above shows how the Houston Texas police force hopes to apply surveillance technology in their region. A walk in the farm field or a drive down country roads ain't what they used to be, that's for sure.

You are being watched.

This morning I heard on CBC Radio that this afternoon on Dispatches, Rick MacInnis-Rae will be talking about the US aircraft that patrol the Canadian border using surveillance technology that enables the US to look inside the windows of homes 40 k. away from the US/Canada border. I started to wonder: how far is the US/Canada border that runs through Lake Superior from Thunder Bay? I'll have to look that up. Maybe the next time I am down at the waterfront admiring the sunrise, there may be an Eye in the Sky looking at me. Is there someone in a cubicle somewhere in the US whose job it is to watch all this video footage?

Well, I thought, as I laced on my sneakers to run down to Bay St. for coffee with "the boys" (i.e. the old Finnish men and Alex, who is not Finnish in origin but Russian), is there no end to the camera surveillance of not only public spaces but private ones, too? Will whole swaths of the Canadian boreal forest be put under UAV --unmanned aerial vehicle -- US surveillance on the off chance of catching, as their justification goes, "drugs, migrants, and terrorists"?

What covert joint US/Canada "operations" might be possible through this technology? Why is our conservative led government so keen to make our border so permeable and accessible to US security yet at the same time makes our border much harder for prospective immigrants to cross?

A walk in the woods by the border ain't what it used, that's for sure. Drone surveillance may be watching overhead. The border along Manitoba to Lake of the Woods is under US surveillance, the BC border is possibly next, and, also very troubling, the US is watching/spying on a First Nations reserve:

"In eastern Canada, the focus of the Predator is the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, which straddles the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, Ont., and sprawls across the border of New York state."

I am uncomfortable with the idea of the US spying into Canadian geography, but I guess they must have gotten the permission of our government. Is this technology not seen as an invasion of sovereign people's privacy? Or have people become so used to camera surveillance that no one cares?
ten cool spy toys - available to the buying public, yet some "barely legal."

Why don't we all become Maxwell Smart of Agent 99? Each citizen...that is consumer...can just go and buy his or her own little state-of-the-art surveillance technology? Why get a shoe when you can buy a drone or a plane?

12 comments:

Anne said...

One of the pleasures of growing old like Jerry and me is that the government no longer cares what you do. When I was young and protested against the Vietnam War they stole my garbage and lurked around the stairwell of the building where I taught. Now I might as well be invisible. Too old to worry about.

northshorewoman said...

Yes, each age has its neurotic government, and I truly hope that once older, some of us may be left alone from scrutiny. What a job that person had to sort through another person's garbage!

The Vietnam war is a very important part of US history and identity that I feel has been largely forgotten in the mass public. There are many lessons from the Vietnam War, many issues that still need to be resolved and talked about.

I am always startled by my students who have no knowledge of Abu Ghraib. What can the Vietnam War possibly mean to them if the very recent history is unknown to them?

Katja Maki said...

OMG, drones used by the military, border patrol and now by the police. How can they spy on the reservation? Is this not all illegal? With Eye in the Sky cameras downtown and satellites above watching, there is nowhere we can go without someone spying on us! Maybe we have to go out in disguise and cover our windows so they can't see in! This sounds like some freaky science fiction movie! But it is all too real!

marja-leena said...

I've heard a little about this, but wow! it's a lot worse than I thought! Depressing where our country has been led the past number of years under leadership that seems to want to give our country's resources and freedoms away. Can we change or stop it or is it too late even if we could change our government with this current election now underway? I've become too pessimistic in my old age but I still care, too much so.

Merche Pallarés said...

WHAT NEXT!!! Too much... I think we should cover our windows with silver foil or whatever, as KATJA MAKI says...
In the eighties, I worked in an advertising agency in Madrid. One of my duties entailed being in charge of the ads that were enclosed in a small military magazine. I used to read some of the articles, well, in one of them, I was shocked to read about a plane that could read a newspaper on the ground, at night!! Imagine what they are able to do now... Good luck. Hugs, M.

Black Pete said...

Don't look now, but there is a store selling espionage equipment on Memorial Avenue here in Thunder Bay--in plain sight (the basement must be UNCLE headquarters...).

Ari said...

If we carry our mobil phones with us, it is very easy to localize where we are without any aerial vehicles. It is not a very good thing either that the border control is non-existent between European Union countries. Criminals have much larger areas to operate. Number of dangerous drugs is growing and growing thanks to open borders. During the last week many elderly people have been robbed by foreign criminals in Finland thanks to free policy to go abroad without any passport controls.

northshorewoman said...

There are definitely so many concerns linked to this surveillance society that we live in. That we can each play spy too easily -- just a credit card needed -- is deplorable. I believe as citizens we barely know what the governments are up to.

Anonymous said...

What if someone in the elite political us circle is telling his government someone is a dangerous threat when in fact it isn't true. And all they want is to bully their target and you know the whole system is corrupt and they are just out to get you. Only you're not a terrorist so they would have to plant false evidence one day when this person just wanted to visit the beach and doesn't give a shit about the spoiled us daddy's boy who wants attention from everyone else by using this poor person (who never did anything to anyone except call his friend a slut) to get it.

And let's say this guy is actually the criminal who may have caused her brother to get ALS by arsenic poisoning found in his hair sample. Or gang stalks and cause stalks her but just wants to make the inhumanity legal? Did anyone ever notice maybe when governments like conservative and non liberal governments predominate capital hill and Ottawa parliament that maybe just maybe they are corrupt. And that all this is an excuse to target a chosen few who they have already been spying on illegally because cause stalkers demonized targets to government officials?

Anonymous said...

You maybe right anonymous. And you've given us much to think about. Thank-you very much for showing me that maybe the whole thing is a targeting scheme to legalize crimes of privacy invasion against law abiding citizens. I think maybe all this is wrong and that people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law which is the only place that can decipher all the aspects of both sides of a story ( of course the jury would have to not be corrupted and the judge too). I think people should not be spied on unless they've committed a crime. A proven crime. I don't want people to see me in my birthday suit or to arrest me without trial. In fact anonymous you remind me that maybe it is also wrong to confer with a government that thinks it's okay to arrest people and murder them without trial. (look up citizen imprisonment law signed on decemeber 15 2011)

Anonymous said...

Kind of reminds me of the agreements made between Italy and Germany in the 1930s. Sounds like we got a lot of control freaks in government right now. I wish we had some liberal thinking people in power. I'm sick of conservatives and control freaks running women's lives.

northshorewoman said...

anonymous folks, yes, from reading your comments it reminds me that our current state of government "security" reads like a bad 50s sci-fi flick. Creature from the Black Lagoon or something wicked this way comes. I think there's a short fiction in the making, less speculative fiction and leaning more to reality as, unfortunately, for us Canadians, the fears of our times are our realities.