While the White House officially confirmed the existence of the CIA's drone targeted killing program, something that the CIA would previously neither deny nor confirm in ACLU lawsuits, a glimpse into the future of using drones for targeted killings can be seen with a twist in a hot upcoming game. Call of Duty: Black Ops II, due Nov. 13, is set in the year 2025 and in a fictional future Cold War, but clips imply that Anonymous could be responsible for hacking drones and then killing by remote control.
Oliver North, once in the Iran-Contra affair national hotseat "for selling arms for U.S. hostages," is now "selling a video game" in documentary-style video clips for Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The videos and the glimpses into the future are impressive whether or not you are a gamer (and videos are "unlisted," meaning you can only see them if you have the links): the Synopsis, Chapter 1: How Far We've Come; Chapter 2: It's Not Science Fiction; Chapter 3: The Oops Moment; Chapter 4: When the Enemy Steals the Keys; and Chapter 5: Black Ops.
The Verge reported the trailer details the "drone army and hacker threat," and the six documentary-style ads explore "the past advancements in military innovations, the reality of current technology, how some threats and deadly mistakes have already popped up, the threat of hackers and the importance of special forces in future warfare." But it goes deeper than the hacker threat, reported Kotaku, as the clips show the Guy Fawkes V for Vendetta masks, thereby portraying Anonymous as cyber-terrorist enemies who hack military technology, hijack drones and start delivering death from the sky.
Smile for the drones as your local police department will soon have them flying over you. Gizmodo related a tale about the Gadsden, Alabama, Police Department discovering it owned two drones but had no clue why. The UAV Wasps cost $150,000, paid for by a federal grant, and the drones have been the police department's property since 2010. Police Chief John Crane told the Gadsden Times, "I, for one, am very mindful of privacy issues." The video feed from flying spies can be monitored lived. "Like anything else, it's a tool," Crane said. "If we don't have a specific need for this tool, why break it out of the box?"
Too bad that sentiment is unlikely to be echoed by other police departments, and perhaps even individuals since The Daily Beast said you could buy your own drone for a mere $300 online. Domestic drones are coming and the EFF posted a list and a map of about 60 private and public organizations which the FAA granted certificates of authorization (COAs) to fly domestic drones. Popular Science pointed out that "the biggest drone users in the U.S. aren't law enforcement agencies but universities." The FAA "must write rules by May 14 on how it will license police, fire department and other public safety agencies eager to fly lightweight drones at low altitudes."
Salon wrote about using drones for urban warfare and mentioned, "Vanguard has touted the weaponized ShadowHawk to police departments in Ohio and Illinois, according to emails published online by the hackers collective AntiSec." This brings us back to Kotaku reporting that the new Call of Duty is making Anonymous "the enemy."
In the promotional campaign for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, the Guy Fawkes V for Vendetta masks make two brief appearances on two different promotional clips, "Blink and you'll miss it."
In a clip titled "Synopsis", Oliver North talks about his nightmare scenario, and when he says, "The enemy could be anywhere, and it could be anyone," an individual wearing a Guy Fawkes appears on screen. I don't worry about the guy who wants to hijack a plane," North continues. "I worry about the guy who wants to hijack all the planes."
There is a tighter shot of the Guy Fawkes mask, which is now thought of as an icon for the hacking collective Anonymous, in the clip "When the Enemy Steals the Keys."
"You know, if there are guys out there who are smart enough to hack into our banks and people's personal information, then certainly, eventually, there's gonna be someone who's smart enough to hack into our aircraft," drone pilot Major Hercules Christopher says in the clip. "If you can hack a bank, you can hack a drone."
The moment the pilot says "gonna be someone who's smart enough", the Guy Fawkes mask once again appears on screen, seeming to insinuate indirectly that Anonymous members are going to be smart enough to hack drones - or even want to. Once again, the Guy Fawkes mask is cast as the enemy.
If you want to know more about Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, The Verge has some great details.