General Atomics Is the Domestic Drone Surveillnce Name to Worry About

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We live in a heavily surveilled country. According to a report from late last year, the U.S. has roughly one surveillance camera for every four people. That’s already a startling lack of privacy, but surveillance experts warn Americans living in cities could soon find themselves with essentially no privacy at all. They say we could soon enter a time when drones that were designed for the military are constantly surveilling our cities from above.

Barry Summers, an activist who researches military drone integration, tells the Daily Dot that he started thinking about domestic drone surveillance back in 2012 when the Los Angeles Times did a story on the Pentagon working with the FAA to open U.S. airspace to the drones they were using in the Middle East. He says he found this alarming, and eventually he started looking into what other information he could find out about the plans for these drones. Summers has spent a lot of time researching this topic over the years, and he’s found the companies that manufacture these drones seem to be interested in marketing them for domestic use, and he points to one company in particular: General Atomics.

General Atomics manufactures drones meant for the military, such as the Predator drone most people are familiar with. The company was founded in 1955, and it originally focused on nuclear fusion and fission research. It’s largely been focused on drone manufacturing for the past couple decades through its subsidiary General Atomics Aeronautical Systems. It’s not a particularly large company, but it’s had a major impact in the world of military drones. 

Summers says General Atomics has been working hard to market their drones to police and emergency responders. He says one model called the SlyGuardian was actually designed with this purpose in mind. This drone can