According to the New York Times (I don’t have a link, but Google will bring it up), nighttime drone formations have been reported by law enforcement in the Midwest. These obviously precision formations fly over small towns and prairies in Nebraska and Colorado. Now, I write what I consider to be horror fiction, but this is downright scary. We know our government is keeping tabs on us using all kinds of technology, and this could be a government program. It could also, as the article points out, be the mapping project of some corporation (which can be scarier even than the government), seeking natural resources to exploit. Twice this past year I’ve spotted mapping cars with their camera-stalks protruding from their roofs, multiple spider-eyes recording roads and their surroundings. Smile—you’re on candid camera!
Please don’t think that I suppose myself important enough to be spied upon. Heck, I can’t even get job interviews and my books don’t sell. Still, I am concerned about surveillance. I’ve seen articles suggesting that facial recognition software is now being used by some governments (notably China’s) for keeping track of “people of interest.” I’m more a person of disinterest, but I thought nothing of pausing long enough for the camera at Heathrow customs to record my face and scan my passport as I entered the UK in June. Coming back the same thing happened in Newark. And people wonder why I won’t go into the full body scanners at the airport. Some bits of personal information, particularly those down south, I’d like to keep out of government hands.
Watching the X-Files again has reawakened my suspicion that there are too many secrets. Yes, I know the X-Files are fiction. Still, we know black budgets are as real as the electronic money our banks tell us we have. And some places aren’t even accepting cash any more. I have no idea why fleets of drones may be flying over the Midwest, but the fact that it’s happening at night raises all kinds of worries. The X-Files had us looking for UFOs, but drones come from a far more threatening species. Technology has no controls built in. Kids these days can run virtual circles (and very precise ones at that) around my generation. Listening to them talk tech makes me think English might be a foreign language after all. Nobody requires a permit to fly over your head and take a look. While they’re up there, I wonder if I could convince them to take some pictures of my roof. Those on Google maps don’t give enough resolution to tell the roofers where they should focus next.