The Use and Abuse of a New Technology: Unmanned Aircraft
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The use of un-manned, remote-control aircraft by the Pentagon and the CIA has created bitter controversy overseas. What's in store for the same technology applied here in the US for border control, local law enforcement and other civilian applications? Also, the battle to stop oil coming ashore in Mississippi River Delta, and a dramatic rise in insurance rates — which influenced debate on healthcare reform — has now been cancelled. Anthem Blue Cross of California says its costs won't be going up so much after all.
Banner image: A RQ-1 Predator from the 46th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron lands January 20, 2004 at Tallil Air Base, Iraq. Photo: Suzanne M. Jenkins/US Air Force via Getty Images
Battle to Stop Oil Coming Ashore in Mississippi River Delta ()
As the massive oil spill began to wash up on the Gulf Coast, President Obama repeated that the federal government is "fully prepared" and doing "everything necessary" to cope with the onset of an environmental disaster. Brett Clanton is energy reporter for the Houston Chronicle.
- Brett Clanton: Energy Reporter, Houston Chronicle
The Drone Wars ()
The first year of the Obama Administration has been called "the Year of the Drone" in Pakistan. Suspected enemies were struck 51 times with missiles fired from unmanned American Predators, more in 12 months than during eight years of the Bush Administration. In Afghanistan, innocent civilians have also been killed. In Pakistan, a secret drone program could mean that CIA operatives will be charged with murder. Smaller, unarmed drones are being used for US border enforcement, and they could watch forest fires, explore hurricanes and check pipelines. Should local law enforcement get drones for surveillance? What about privacy and over-crowded skies?
- Nathan Hodge: Reporter, Wired's Danger Room blog, @nohodge
- Mary Ellen O'Connell: Professor of International Law, Notre Dame Law School
- David Glazier: Professor of Law, Loyola Law School
- Peter Singer: National Security Fellow, Brookings Institution, @peterwsinger
- Kyle Snyder: Director of Knowledge Resources, Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
Under Pressure, Anthem Drops Steep Rate Hikes ()
As Congress was debating healthcare reform, Anthem Blue Cross raised insurance rates for 800,000 California customers by an average of 25%. President Obama seized the moment to push his program. Yesterday, those increases were cancelled. Anthem Blue Cross has been stung by California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a Republican candidate for Governor, who said their rate-increase plan had "all kinds of methodological mistakes." Duke Helfand is reporting the story for the Los Angeles Times.
- Duke Helfand: Reporter for the Los Angeles Times
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