By Eric Sfiligoj | October 31, 2014
It’s funny what people object to sometimes. When unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) first started getting attention in the agricultural world, I remember several critics decrying their potential use on the grounds that they could be used in underhanded ways to spy on folks.
“Drones (using the military term for UAVs) can’t be trusted,” they would scream. “They’ve been used to kill people in other countries and could be used by the government and big agricultural companies to spy on innocent citizens!”
But in truth, the government (or anyone else for that matter) doesn’t need UAVs to spy on the average person. There’s a much easier way to ease drop – it’s called the Internet.
I received firsthand confirmation of this fact at a recent visit to the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a guest of Verdesian Life Sciences. Since this was a semi-restricted government lab (famous, of course, for developing the atomic bomb back in the 1940s), each of we visiting media needed to be cleared by security before entering the grounds. As such, we parked at the security gate when we first arrived.
While we waited, one of my fellow ag media editors casually took a picture of the guardhouse with their mobile phone and posted it online. Not five minutes later, we were cleared and pulled up to the lab entrance, where we were greeted by our hosts.
“Before we go inside, I would to ask the editor that posted a picture of our guardhouse online to delete it immediately,” said the Los Alamos Lab representative. “This is a secure facility and pictures of any kind are not permitted!”
What scared me about this incident was obvious: Our Internet activities were apparently being monitored as we entered the lab grounds, almost as we conducted them!
So people shouldn’t fear UAVs and their potential for spying. The average person can already be easily tracked through their normal, everyday Internet interactions.