Here comes Skynet.
Earlier this year in May it was reported by The Intercept that the EU had been working with member states to help roll out a system called ROBORDER that would employ swarms of autonomous drones to patrol air, land and sea for border violations.
The specifics were laid out in a mid-term review and progress report which included:
Ministries of the Interior and Defence from Portugal, Hungary and Greece are testing manned and unmanned platforms for border surveillance. In the EU project ROBORDER, Hungary is interested in securing land borders with an unmanned ground vehicle, while Greece is using a long-range drone and an aircraft. Portugal uses a surface and an underwater drone in the Atlantic.
The drones should operate independently and in swarms. They are equipped with various sensors whose images are combined in a mobile situation centre. Different communication links are examined for transmission.
The Intercept reported that the EU program might be violating the terms of funding due to references made to potential military applications, as well as other ethical concerns about the tech being used in the private sector and getting into “the wrong hands.”
Nevertheless, it appears that the United States has its own plans for drone swarms at its borders.
Defense One reports:
The Customs and Border Protection agency is getting ready to test autonomous drones that can provide situational awareness for agents working between ports of entry.
The agency has been working with colleagues at Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate Silicon Valley Innovation Program to build and test prototypes of Planck Aerosystems’ autonomous small unmanned aircraft systems, or sUAS. The agencies announced a fourth round of funding Thursday, granting Planck $200,000 to test its prototype in operational environments over the next three to six months.
“Planck’s system capability enables a sUAS to launch from and land on the bed of a moving vehicle, in addition to providing fully autonomous navigation coupled with a securing mechanism, advanced computer vision capabilities and customized communications interfaces,” according to the announcement from S&T. “Through a combination of integrated technologies, including full-motion video, automatic target detection and geolocation, Planck seeks to provide CBP agents with a portable, ruggedized detection system that provides real-time situational awareness in the field.”
We’re finally seeing the pieces being assembled from other reports I’ve covered over the years including the many aerial drones, but also upgrades that the Navy has been making to its fleet that will enable drone boat swarm attacks.
One military drill in particular, “Unmanned Warrior,” was an extensive operation designed to test the interoperability of autonomous drone systems. The fact is that it has long been planned to have a full matrix of war, once labeled MUSIC, where multiple platforms across sea, land and sky would be orchestrated to identify threats and carry out attacks … potentially without ever being subjected to human oversight.
Now we are seeing this same vision being applied to border control — and we are told it will be limited to non-military applications only?
If anyone still believes that this technology has purely benevolent intentions and will exercise restraint in the further development of autonomous systems of surveillance and killing abroad and at home, then perhaps the cautionary words of DARPA itself should force us to seriously question the unintended consequences of war and border patrol becoming computerized and autonomous. Have not all connected devices been easily hacked?
Lastly, please compare the two images below. The first is from the military plan to have an “Internet of Battlefield Things;” the second is the EU plan for ROBORDER.
These two plans are far too close for comfort.