Russia has unveiled a combat surveillance drone intended to resemble a menacing owl spreading its wings.

The avian imposter was showcased at the Defense Ministry’s annual military expo in the outskirts of Moscow on Tuesday. 

Footage from the event published by the ministry’s Zvezda news channel showthe remote-controlled wheeled drone rolling across a grassy field before takeoff. The owl drone is equipped with a laser beam to guide artillery and aviation, the channel reported.


From afar, it might be able to pull off the disguise. But an up-close glimpse reveals eyes permanently affixed with a sedated expression and a gaping hole where a beak should be.

When viewed from the ground, the drone’s incognito appearance allows it to approach targets without being noticed, the state-run TASS news agency cited its developer as saying.




Weighing in at 5 kilograms and capable of identifying targets 10 meters away, the army-green owl drone clocks in up to 40 minutes of flying time and can cover distances up to 20 kilometers, according to Interfax

The unmanned aerial vehicle’s exterior can also be changed to resemble a falcon or other birds of prey, Interfax reported.

Not one to be outshone, the U.S. intelligence community is reportedly developing lightweight owl spy drones of its own.


An Israeli-U.S. cybersecurity firm released a new report on Monday evening, claiming that "nation-state" hackers had compromised the systems of at least ten cellular carriers around the world to steal metadata related to specific users. Albeit unconfirmed, both the targeted individuals and the hackers are believed to link to China.

None of the affected carriers or targeted individuals have been named.

Cybereason claimed that the sophistication and scale of the attack, which they have dubbed Operation Softcell, bear the hallmarks of a nation-state action and that the individual targets—military officials and dissidents—tie to China. All of which points to the Chinese government as the likely culprit. The affected carriers. were in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. None were thought to be in the United States.

"The advanced, persistent attack targeting telecommunications providers," the company said, "has been active since at least 2017... The threat actor was attempting to steal all data stored in the active directory, compromising every single username and password in the organization, along with other personally identifiable information, billing data, call detail records, credentials, email servers, geo-location of users, and more."

The attack was described in the report as a "game of cat and mouse between the threat actor and the defenders." As soon as the compromise [of] critical assets, such as database servers, billing servers, and the active directory" was detected, "the threat actor stopped the attack" only to resume later.


Airports are exemplars of our surveillance society. Here a raft of digital surveillance, targeting and sorting systems come together. And they start working well before you arrive for check-in, with the U.S. government comparing your name against watch lists as soon as you buy a ticket.

On a recent trip overseas, I brushed up against these overlapping systems of control. In the international airport in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, I saw devices set up that automatically took temperature readings of arriving passengers (the Ebola scare was ongoing). When I returned from my trip and entered customs at John F. Kennedy International Airport, security officers divided us into lines based on national background. I swiped my passport at a kiosk, received some sort of receipt, and was made to wait again. Whatever this piece of paper meant, it was apparently better than one received by a young man next to me. His was marked with several Xs; it seemed no coincidence that, his skin being brown and mine white, he had been selected for further investigation, and I was allowed to move forward.ers and the New York Police Department monitors teenagers on social media. The more I learn about our surveillance infrastructure, the more convinced I am that I never left the airport.


Two new books, Robert Scheer's "They Know Everything About You" and Bruce Schneier's "Data and Goliath," try to make sense of this world of ubiquitous surveillance. Both are unequivocal in describing some looming dangers: the obliteration of privacy; new possibilities for discrimination as corporations track us relentlessly; mission creep as anti-terrorism tools are applied to nonviolent protesters and other innocents; and a dangerous commingling of Silicon Valley and the U.S. intelligence community, both of which rely on similar forms of bulk data collection.


Picture the future, where driving is a thing of the past. You can hop in your car or one from a ride-share, buckle up and tell the car where you want to go. During your ride, you can check your email and look up a few things online through your dashboard. Meanwhile, your whereabouts and other details are being tracked remotely by companies. As self-driving cars develop further, autonomous vehicles will play a much larger role in the digital economy as car companies and others harness personalized customer information through geospatial and navigation technologies, combining it with existing financial consumer profiles, according to a study in Surveillance and Society.

"Self-driving cars will represent a new mode for surveillance. Through a self-driving car's global positioning, system, navigational tools, and other data collection mechanisms, companies will be able to gain access to highly contextual data about passengers' habits, routines, movements, and preferences," explained Luis F. Alvarez León, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth. "This trove of personal, locational, and financial data can be leveraged and monetized by companies, by providing a data-stream for companies to target customers through personalized advertising and marketing," he added.