digital nation - life on the virtual frontier

Counterinsurgency? There's an app for that.

May 11, 2009 _ 10:44 / Digital Nation Team / comments (0)

The Independent reports on how U.S. forces now employ iPhones on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq:

They are, say the US forces, ideal for the age of "network centric warfare", relatively easy to use, safe with secure software, and far cheaper than manufacturing a military version.
The sheer versatility of the kit - with the capability of over 30,000 programmes - allows a huge variety of functions needed for operations ranging from providing language translations to the transmitting of sensitive information and working out trajectories for snipers. Projects are on the way to use them as guidance systems for bomb disposal robots and receivers of aerial footage from unmanned drone aircraft.
The US Marine Corps is funding an application that would allow soldiers to upload photographs of detained suspects, along with written reports, into a biometric database. The software would match faces, in theory making it easier to track suspects after they're released.

Of course, the cheaper and simpler to use the technology is, the easier it is for terrorists to turn it against us. We already posted here that the Army has studied potential terrorist uses of Twitter. This threat, however, is more sensational than anything else. New technology can always be used for good or for evil. As one reader dryly put it:

Too bad the Government didn't think about possible terrorists use of the telephone when it was invented. Man, we would be so safe by now.

You can find more reporting on this subject below the video player in our military feature, under the tab "Terrorist Technology."




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posted February 2, 2010

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