US Mil Gorgon Stare Lacks Multiheaded Basilisk Capability

Gorgon Stare is a multi-camera wide-area airborne surveillance sensor that will allow the US military to film a four-kilometer radius underneath a Reaper drone.

Gorgon Stare will allow a combat controller on the ground, a commander at headquarters and an intelligence officer back in the U.S. all to choose a different angle from the same Reaper, said Maj. William Bower, deputy program manager for the MQ-9 Reaper.

The sensor will supplement but not replace the multi-spectral targeting pod aboard the Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator that records full-motion video, Marlin said. He described the Gorgon Stare’s feed as “motion imagery, which will be like a slow, jumpy version of the full-motion video feed.”

Gorgon Stare is a surveillance system that looks at an entire city at once. At some point, its input will probably serve DARPA's Mind's Eye, which will add visual intelligence to the mix.


(Gorgon Stare)

However, Gorgon Stare is a passive, surveillance-only system. It does not have the software-controlled "look-to-kill" functionality of SCORPION STARE, a similar system implemented in Charles Stross' 2004 story The Concrete Jungle:

Abstract: This document describes progress to date in establishing a defensive network capable of repelling wide-scale incursions by reconfiguring the national closed-circuit television surveillance network as a software-controlled look-to-kill multiheaded basilisk. To prevent accidental premature deployment or deliberate exploitation, the SCORPION STARE software is not actually loaded into the camera firmware. Instead, reprogrammable FPGA chips are integrated into all cameras and can be loaded with SCORPION STARE by authorised MAGINOT BLUE STARS users whenever necessary...

There are more than ninety different CCTV architectures currently on sale in the UK, many of which are imported and cannot be fitted with FPGAs suitable for running the SCORPION STARE basilisk neural network prior to installation. Data Disclosure Orders served under the terms of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2001) serve to gain access to camera firmware, but in many regions upgrades to Level 1 MAGINOT BLUE STARS compliance is behind schedule due to noncompliance by local police forces with what are seen as unreasonable Home Office requests. Unless we can achieve a 340 percent compliance improvement by 2004, we will fail to achieve the target saturation prior to September 2007, when CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is due.

See also Air Force Times, Wired and The Concrete Jungle.

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