US Military testing mass surveillance balloons across the US
The U.S. military is using balloons to monitor activity across six states in the Midwest. The 25 solar-powered balloons are reportedly being used to monitor portions of Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
The military filed a Special Temporary Authorization for the balloons with the FCC this week. The purpose of the balloons according to that filing is to “conduct high altitude MESH networking tests over South Dakota to provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats.”
The filing was made “Sierra Nevada Corporation” which is an aerospace and defense company. The balloons are being launched from South Dakota.
The balloons are capable of tracking multiple individuals or vehicles during the day or night. They’re also already recording, so should an event happen in an area being surveilled by the balloons, they’ll be able to essentially rewind the tape and see what occurred as well as where any potential suspects might have traveled.
Tests with the balloons reportedly began in July and will continue through September. The balloons travel at height of up to 65,000 feet and can adjust their location if need be to get a better view of a particular person or area or to deal with weather conditions.