The Eyes of Texas – by John Sinclair (Sung to the tune of I’ve been working on the railroad)
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
All the live long day.
The Eyes of Texas are upon you,
You can not get away.
Do not think you can escape them
At night or early in the morn-
The Eyes of Texas are upon you
‘Till Gabriel blows his horn.
Since I was a boy I’ve thought the lyrics to the song ‘The Eyes of Texas’ were a bit creepy, even if they were meant to inspire folks to be on their best behavior. Attributing God-like spying capabilities to the State of Texas or the University of Texas was, to me, just a little Orwellian. Should I, in my most intimate moments, be looking over my shoulder for Texas’ prying eyes? What kind of rebuke might I expect if Texas didn’t approve of my midnight snack? I wondered.
Recently, the lyrics reached a whole new level of scary, given the developments that Texas does indeed have “eyes” and they are ever present: in the air, on street corners, on highways and who knows where else. Mounted secretly on cell towers, perhaps? The trend has advanced so much as to attract the attention of State Representative Lance Gooden (R-Terrill) who has sponsored a bill limiting drone use by both individuals and law enforcement:
1200 WOAI’s Michael Board reports that Gooden has introduced a measure which would outlaw the use of drones by individuals, or state or federal law enforcement.
Gooden tells 1200 WOAI news that his bill would have limited exceptions, including allowing drones within 25 miles of the Rio Grande for drug and illegal immigrant interdiction programs, or for use by law enforcement with a valid search or arrest warrant, with ‘probable cause to believe that a person has committed a felony.’
“Do we want out local police departments laying off officers and simply parking drones over our homes to keep an eye on all of us?” Gooden asked.
Gooden’s measure would make it illegal for any image which was taken by a drone-based camera from being used in any civil or criminal court proceeding.
Looking past the obvious Fourth Amendment privacy concerns is the fact that the drones’ payload capabilities are ever increasing and those capabilities certainly haven’t gone unnoticed by our friends in law enforcement. At least one Texas sheriff has stated desires to equip his department’s drones with non-lethal projectiles such as rubber bullets or install tear gas capabilities. How long until those projectiles become lethal?
The slippery slope of Statism is constantly receiving a fresh coat of grease. I pray our representatives can reign in the desire to infringe on our privacy and stop the militarization of these drones over American soil.
Drones are not just a Texas issue.
Still not concerned?
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) took it to a new level this week, though, with the introduction of “the most advanced surveillance system in the sky.” Codenamed ARGUS — Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System — the new camera system comes equipped with 1.8 gigapixels worth of sensors. It’s made up of an array of 368 sensors not unlike the one in your smartphone, each capable of 5-megapixel resolution. (Adding them all up gives us that 1.8 gigapixel number.) It doesn’t miss a thing either since it’s capable of streaming a million terabytes, or 5,000 hours, of HD video every day.
Those are some insane specifications. At that resolution, ARGUS can spot a six-inch object from 10 miles away while flying at an altitude of 20,000 feet. The imaging system is so powerful it can see what you’re wearing from the nearly same altitude as commercial airlines fly, while your puny eyeballs can barely spot small cities from that high.
Read more: Drones Can Now See Inside Your Bedroom
After months of protesting a policy requiring high school students to wear an RFID-enabled ID badge around their necks at all times, Andrea Hernandez is being involuntarily withdrawn from John Jay High School in San Antonio effective November 26th, according to a letter sent by the district that has now been made public.
The letter, sent on November 13, informs her father that the Smart ID program, which was phased in with the new school year, is now in “full implementation” and requires all students to comply by wearing the location-tracking badges.
Since Andrea Hernandez has refused to wear the badge, she is being withdrawn from the magnet school and her program at the Science and Engineering Academy, and instead will have to attend William Howard Taft HS, which is not currently involved in the ID scheme, unless she changes her position.
The Arrogance of Authority
A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas , and talked with an old rancher.
He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”
The rancher said, “Okay , but don’t go in that field over there…”,
as he pointed out the location.
The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, “Mister, I have the authority
of the Federal Government with me !”
Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and
proudly displayed it to the rancher.
“See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever
I wish…. On any land !!
No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear…
do you understand ?!!”
The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.
A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and
saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s
big Santa Gertrudis bull…
With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and
it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before
he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified.
The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence, and
yelled at the top of his lungs…..
“Your badge, show him your BADGE. !!”
Just what she always wanted! Facial recognition software for Big Sis. Now she can track your every move and you’ll never know it, but it’s all for your own good, citizen/serf.
And so as not to be left out,
Forget the Fourth Amendment, and the Fifth Amendment too. Your car is working for the government. It knows when you used your turn signal. It remembers that you didn’t buckle your seat belt. And it tracks your cell phone usage. All while correlating with the onboard GPS and uploading the data in real time to the State Police.
Was Progressive Insurance running a flag up the pole just to see who saluted, or maybe doing a test run on the system with their “Snapshot” device? One can never tell. Perhaps great collective minds just think alike.
I feel so much safer now.
Weren’t we just talking about Trapwire?
What is the risk of giving up our privacy? Can society be too open? Even using the threat of terrorism to spy on civilians is going too far. What was the axiom – “Never let a crisis go to waste?”
1984 is now prophecy:
It’s just like an episode of Person of Interest. According to documents leaked on Wikileaks, the government has created a piece of technology, called TrapWire, that siphons data from surveillance cameras in stores, casinos, and other businesses around the country. Apparently agents can use facial recognition software to analyze this footage for, well, people of interest. Are we living in a total surveillance state without even realizing it?
People voluntarily putting their entire lives on Facebook is only different to a degree. Or think about the Progressive Insurance “Snapshot” device where users voluntarily submit to being tracked for the promise of lower insurance rates. The false promise of “Protection from Perceived Danger” will be the death of liberty..
What about your laptop’s video camera or cell phone camera or microphone? Let’s hear from all the “If you don’t have anything to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about.” folks.
On second thought, let’s not. You’re too stupid to understand that you’re too stupid.