Islamic State (IS) has used aerial drones for reconnaissance and battlefield intelligence in Iraq and Syria and has attempted to use aerial and ground drones with explosive payloads to attack Kurdish troops. IS-directed or -inspired attacks in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the United States and France and failed or foiled attacks elsewhere, including the United Kingdom, have demonstrated the group’s desire to attack targets outside the Middle East. Given that threat is a function of capability and intent, should we therefore be concerned about the possibility of Islamic State or another terrorist group using drones to attack Western cities?Read more "How to respond to the threat from hostile drones in the UK"
Ever advancing remote warfare technology is being increasingly used by law enforcement agencies to counter drug trafficking. In response, drug cartels are also adopting new technology to smuggle and distribute drugs. However, the technological superiority of law enforcement-military actors is also causing criminal and militant groups to adapt by employing the very opposite tactic, by resorting to highly primitive technology and methods. In turn, society is doing the same thing, adopting its own back-to-the-past response to drug trafficking and crime.Read more "Drugs and drones: The Crime Empire strikes back"
In Latin America drones are being used as part of the War on Drugs as both regional governments and the US are using surveillance drones to monitor drug trafficking and find smuggling routes. However, as drones are increasingly being used by drug cartels themselves to transport drugs between countries, could Latin America find itself at the forefront of emerging drone countermeasures?Read more "From surveillance to smuggling: Drones in the War on Drugs"
US drug policy has become increasingly privatised in recent years as the US government contracts private military and security companies (PMSCs) to provide intelligence, logistical support and training to state security forces in drug-producing and –transit states. As the cases of Colombia and Mexico illustrate, this privatisation strategy is having a damaging impact on these already fragile environments.Read more "Privatising the War on Drugs: PMSCs in Colombia and Mexico"
Over-burdened in its requests for continuous surveillance of an expanding battlefield, the US military is increasingly turning to private contractors to fill key roles in its drone operations.Read more "EXPANDING CONTRACTING: THE PRIVATE SECTOR’S ROLE IN DRONE SURVEILLANCE AND TARGETING"
Following our recent briefing paper, Mass surveillance: security by ‘remote control’ – consequences and effectiveness, this piece explores the hidden costs of government mass surveillance programmes.Read more "BEYOND PRIVACY: THE COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF MASS SURVEILLANCE"
The case of Pakistan, after a decade long drone war, shows how the appeal of drones as a “cost free” form of warfare is misguided.Read more "LEARNING THE LESSONS: 11 YEARS OF DRONES IN PAKISTAN"