Inside San Diego’s metropolitan area, the second largest city, home to some 275,000 residents, has made the history books. Chula Vista hasn’t cured cancer or discovered perpetual energy; instead, their mark on history will be a dark one as they become the first city in America to be completely monitored by spy drones.
“On a per capita basis, they’re probably the most or one of the most surveilled cities in the country,” said Brian Hofer, executive director of the Oakland-based privacy advocacy group Secure Justice. “Pretty much the minute you walk outside your front door and move about your daily life, you’re going to be tagged and tracked by some law enforcement agency, even though you’ve likely never been suspected of any wrongdoing.”
Chula Vista’s drone program didn’t come to fruition overnight. Instead, the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies coordinated with with Chinese drone manufacturers and unscrupulous actors in Big Tech and have implemented the program over the course of several years.
“The City of San Diego’s Homeland Security Department is collaborating with more than 20 regional organizations to implement the IPP. In addition to EDC, partners include: City of Chula Vista, Cape, AirMap, Qualcomm, AT&T, California Governor’s Military Council, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), Uber, UC San Diego Health, Intel, GE Ventures, and others,” the city announced in 2018.
In 2020, as fearful citizens begged the government for safety that never came, they willingly accepted this egregious invasion of privacy.
The Free Thought Project reported on this problem in 2020 and since then it has gotten much worse. Just like the Chinese authorities, police in California equipped the drones with speakers to tell people what to do during the pandemic.
“The department is considering one strategy to use drone-mounted speakers to communicate and reach vulnerable populations in inaccessible areas of the city, like large urban canyons with homeless encampments,” the Chula Vista Police Department said in a press release when they began to spy on citizens 24/7. “Unsheltered persons are particularly vulnerable to the current pandemic, and their safety and welfare is important to stopping the spread of the disease.”
The company who manufactures the drones had no problem admitting the “Orwellian” nature of such a program.
“What we saw in China, and what we’re probably going to see around the world, is using drones with cameras and loudspeakers to fly around to see if people are gathering where they shouldn’t be, and telling them to go home,” Spencer Gore, chief executive of U.S.-based drone company Impossible Aerospace, said. “It seems a little Orwellian, but this could save lives.”
As we quickly learned, however, outside was the safest place to be and your chances of catching covid from someone outdoors are basically zero. But did government reverse course and end the program after learning these facts? Of course not.
Instead, after yelling at citizens over loudspeakers mounted on drones in March of 2020, exactly one year later and the entire city would be com…