Eyes in the Sky: The Secret Rise of Gorgon Stare and How It Will Watch Us All

Arthur Holland Michel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-544-97200-1
Michel, codirector of Bard College’s Center for the Study of the Drone, provides an unsettling but balanced look at technological advances in aerial surveillance. He provides helpful background to the issue, by explaining that the devastation wreaked by IEDs in early 2000s Iraq impelled the Pentagon to search for new ways of detecting concealed bombs and tracking the insurgents responsible for them. The result was the invention of powerful aerial surveillance systems, bearing such ominous names as Angel Fire, Constant Hawk, and Gorgon Stare, and in one case, as Michel vividly describes, capable of spotting “an object six inches wide from an altitude of 25,000 feet in a frame twice the width of Manhattan.” Avoiding the pitfall of coming across as anti-technology, Michel points out the potential benefits of these inventions beyond their original applications, such as in fighting forest fires and finding hurricane survivors. Despite such positives, he issues a trenchant warning about the opportunities for abuse. Alarming but not alarmist, this study leaves readers with an informative and persuasive look at how society might regulate cutting-edge technology to assure both individual privacy rights and the government’s ability to guard public safety. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary. (June)
Reviewed on : 02/26/2019
Release date: 06/18/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
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