Facing serious U.S. budget cuts, companies that build high-tech weapons and surveillance tools for the military’s War on Terror will have to look for a new market to sell their high tech drones and surveillance tools. Seeing as the U.S. government wouldn’t want its enemies or other governments to get their hands onto these advanced tools, the companies’ only option would be to try to sell these tools to agencies within the U.S.
So where will this technology go? Valuable tools like the Integrated Building Interior Surveillance System (IBISS), which uses thermal imaging to see through walls and inside buildings, seems to be destined for use by local police or fire departments (that’s if the city or state can afford these high-priced tools).
People like Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, however, says that this transfer of technology from military to police use isn’t anything new, and is becoming increasingly common since 9/11:
“All kinds of capabilities that were developed with an eye to foreign countries are being turned inward upon the American people,” Stanley said. “We’ve seen this with everything from the NSA to spy satellites even to a lot of the technologies that are moving through what is called the green to blue pipeline, which is to say the military to the police.”
The legality of this type of technology will depend on how it’s used. For example, because it was found illegal for police to use thermal imaging on a person’s house without a warrant, tools such as the IBISS will most likely only be used in emergency situations by emergency response teams or for law enforcement purposes only when a warrant is issued.
One thing is for certain: the advanced spy and weapons technology that was once developed for overseas warfare use is now coming to the domestic market and will be used to solve problems we have at home. Whether it’ll be used for purposes such as protecting people in times of emergency or for more efficiently catching criminals, we’ll just have to wait and see how this technology will interact with our daily lives.