The Pentagon is conducting mass surveillance tests across six Midwest states by launching spy balloons. These high altitude balloons offer a cheap monitoring platform to monitor and track individual people and vehicles for extended periods.
Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched. The balloons will move at an altitude of about 65,000 feet and will have high-tech radar designed to track vehicles irrespective of day or night and sunny or cloudy weather. Sensors in the balloons will be able to track every vehicle within a 25-mile radius. The surveillance experiment began in mid-July and is expected to run up to September.
According to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission, these balloons are launched “to provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats,”
Civil liberties groups consider it to be a threat to privacy
Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said, “We do not think that American cities should be subject to wide-area surveillance in which every vehicle could be tracked wherever they go,” “We should not go down the road of allowing this to be used in the United States and it’s disturbing to hear that these tests are being carried out, by the military no less.”