Counter-Drone Revolution

Drones are the perfect spy machine.  In short, they have an outsized influence over the battlespace and are destroying (or will soon destroy) individual privacy.

Don’t want your daily telephone conversations to be “heard”?  Get VOIP encryption or don’t talk on the phone.  Don’t want your purchases followed?  Use cash.  Don’t want your internet information sniffed?  Use TOR, encrypt your emails, use dead drops to communicate, or don’t communicate over the internet.  Don’t want your movements followed? Don’t move.

Unfortunately drones will do more than just track your movement; eventually most will be able to listen – so don’t talk.  The average drone will hear a mouse fart from 30,000 feet away – or six feet away.

The use of drones is so alarming, exponential, and revolutionary that it begs the question: Where is the counter-drone revolution?  We, rather tongue-in-cheek, joke about soon using drones for target practice.  But there has to be a way to do what we can to shore up our privacy and 4th Amendment rights against the wrongful current and future use of drones.

The 4th Amendment is serious not because we want it to protect criminals but because it was placed into the Bill of Rights for a reason – to protect the Citizenry.  While I believe most law enforcement officers are cognizant and wary of violations, the fact of the matter is that one violation of the 4th Amendment is one too many.

For one, we can demand that our local governments outlaw the use of drones for law enforcement purposes.  There are some who argue that every tool is needed for law enforcement and to be in favor of limiting those potential tools either casts suspicion of criminal activity or a sizable Minority Report paranoia.  But we’re neither criminal nor paranoid.  We’re proactive so get involved in your local government.  And forget national-level legislation.  Republicans and Democrats who voted for NDAA would not block legislation including the use of drones for domestic spying.  And for that matter, forget the SCOTUS as well.

For two, we must identify and opt for civil disobedience or other non-violent action if we’re to spark a domestic counter-drone revolution.  (Personally, I don’t care where Preds are flying across the globe as long as they aren’t collecting on American citizens at home.  I’ll be the first to admit that I enjoyed watching strikes on Hajj in the box. But beyond the use of drones domestically, they don’t represent the future; they’re the here and now of worldwide standoff surveillance and they’re here to stay.)

I’d like to open up the floor for thoughts on how to prime the counter-drone revolution.  Among my initial thoughts are extremely aggressive judicial action and exploiting any small overstep using domestic drones to really put the fear of God (or the DoJ) into those who are willing to violate the Bill of Rights; jammers (thought I suspect this may be illegal); or camouflage.

Questions and comments?  Please post them below!



  1. John Thomas says:

    I was the recipient of drone practice Four weekendsa go while camping in Kisatchie Nat’l Forest. We noticed that a drone was circling our campsite, which didnt bother me much. It wasnt until a figure wearing camo, carrying an M4 emerged and asked a question. the question was regarding the lettering on our campgroup t-shirts. Then it struck home when I thought about the resolution. He introduced himself and stated that he was part of a training exercise, looking for a group of soldiers hiding in the same patch of woods that we had struck camp.

    • Partisan says:

      How large was the drone? Any idea what type it was? Do you think it was part of JRTC at Ft Polk?

  2. John Thomas says:

    The shadowey figure was asked by me if it was a Raven, as I served on a Raven team during OIF II. His reply was that it was a “Desert Hawk”. The noise of operation of was half that of a Raven though.

    As far as our campsite, it was in an area known as a LUA, or limited use area.Here is an website with more info


  3. Fred says:

    I’m a middle age techie guy so I end up talking to other techie guys. I mentioned to a drone maker I met in a meeting once not too long ago that many people were scared of where drone technology was leading. His comment even though he makes drones for the military and others is “They should be”. We talked a little and he said that the surveillance technology is far beyond what most people think it is. There is no hiding, even in the ground that they can’t find you and listen in. That is if they want to. That’s the thing. Are you a person of interest for whatever reason. And there are lots of reasons. That doesn’t mean they don’t troll the waters so to speak looking for surveillance targets of opportunity, just that they will mostly go for “What’s on the menue today”. I sometimes wonder if our DHS drones are “defensless” while looking for “Terrorist” across the CONUS?

    You know those drones are not very stealthy and they do have continuous RF transmissions while on target ;-o

  4. Jason says:

    I couldn’t say it any better than this: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/06/ff_drones/all/ However, what bears consideration is technology (save some world altering event) will not cease to progress… at this point it seems best, as it often has in the past, for people to adopt the same technology being used against against us in order to try and add a check/balance to the system… at least until some kind of obvious counter-technological system is revealed to defeat these systems. For every technological system that is developed, it doesn’t seem long before someone comes up with some type of non-tech way to defeat it. SEE: http://rense.com/general64/fore.htm Entire US fleet sunk with motorcycles and speedboats.

    Open source projects, home based manufacturing and the sharing of ideas globally in an (at least for now) unregulated forum are revolutionizing the advancement of cooperative knowledge that could dwarf the internet boom itself.

    Size matters. At least in the form of presence… it has been clearly documented that what drones are doing is nothing new that has not already been done via satellite and your standard piloted aircraft. They can just do it easier… so does this make it more of a threat? Are liberty and freedom hurt more because of ease of use? Liberties are being trampled daily, how this is achieved seems moot.

    Make no mistake, there is no dark-net, or encryption system that exists in the world that is not fully controlled by the powers trying to hurt/control you. All you can do is resist, no matter the cost, make them work for it, show them you will not be a slave, that liberty and freedom are more than words… oh, and build your own drones.

    • Partisan says:

      Hey Jason – Thank you for reading. I do agree with most of what you said, with this exception: We see time and again, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, that technological might is rendered virtually useless against a low-tech or no-tech enemy – just as Van Riper OPFOR showed. That’s something we can all learn and employ to keep our rights to privacy, without seeking to employ the same technology. One caveat is the use of personal drones with electro-optical sensors for home/community defense… an AEW or AWACS, if you will.

      That’s also a great link (Rense) that I hadn’t read before. It sounded vaguely familiar but it was really nice to read that for myself. Thank you for that.

      Home-based manufacturing is a really great point and something we probably need to hammer home. Did you see the first 3D-printed firearm? I just saw a picture but it supposedly shoots as well.

  5. True Blue says:

    “If you load a mud foot down with a lot of gadgets that he has to watch, somebody a lot more simply equipped—say with a stone ax—will sneak up and bash his head in while he is trying to read a vernier.”
    -Robert A Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1959

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