- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
George Orwell is perhaps best known for his 1949 novel titled, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Mr. Orwell described a country named Oceania, which was an oligarchical dictatorship run by the Party. Members of the country were continually oppressed and monitored by various means to insure their compliance with rules that did not seem to be meted out very fairly. The concept of Big Brother was introduced in the novel to represent government and it always knew what citizens were doing – or tried to. Rumors are flying around the Internet that we are entering just such an era.
The Boeing Company has developed a new type of autonomous drone craft that is code named Phantom Eye. Reports indicate it is capable of remaining in the air for up to four days at a time without refueling. It can sustain an altitude of 12 miles above the ground, making it nearly invisible. Specially designed cameras can be installed on such vehicles today and obtain transmit continuous video and digital photography with exquisite details.
The EPA has been known to use aircraft to fly over environmentally sensitive areas such as after a hurricane or other disaster. Rumors were that the agency planned to use drone aircraft, perhaps such as the Phantom Eye, to monitor farmers and ranchers to make sure they are complying with the regulations. There were many other claims and innuendos that the military and law enforcement planned to use drones as well.
I was not able to corroborate the story that the EPA planned to use drones at all let alone spy on farmers and ranchers. I did find that the Congress introduced legislation that would allow the military to set up a certain number of test ranges for training purposes to maintain their proficiency with these systems. Those spreading the rumors used just enough truth to try and make their speculations appear real.
It was a fine example of how rumors get started and spread faster than a wild fire. We must be careful not to let somebody’s imagination get in the way of our reality. Big Brother as described by Mr. Orwell has not come to America from Oceania yet.