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CIA Drones May Have Used Illegal, Inaccurate Code

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the fighting-terror-with-ctrl-c-and-ctrl-v dept.

Businesses 279

skids writes "Coders hate having to rush code out the door before it's ready. They also hate it when the customer starts making unreasonable demands. What they hate even more is when the customer reverse engineers the product and starts selling their own inferior product. But what really ticks them off is when that buggy, knockoff product might be used by targeting systems in military unmanned drone attacks, and the bugs introduce location errors of up to 13 meters. That's what purportedly happened to software developer IISi, based on an ongoing boardroom/courtroom drama that will leave any hard-pressed coder appreciating just how much worse his job could get. The saddest part? The CIA assumed the bug was a feature. The tinfoil-hat-inducing part? The alleged perpetrators just got bought by IBM."

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Drones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691030)

So prosecute them.
Oh, wait, they didn't mean government employees, they meant UAVs.

In CIA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691634)

nothing is illegal.

Re:In CIA (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691646)

That's pretty much it. There are no laws, only guidelines.

I think i understand (5, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691032)

"The CIA assumed the bug was a feature." Are CIA agents being issued iPhones, by any chance?

Re:I think i understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691100)

It's more of a plausible deniability feature. "You see we didn't target those civilians because of our bad intelligence, the drone is inherently only so accurate!"

Re:I think i understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691216)

Of course they are, haven't you ever seen Chuck?

Re:I think i understand (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691508)

Geolocation off that bad? I'd assume they're being handed Samsung Galaxy Ses...

Re:I think i understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691718)

lol :)

Oh well, feel free to make your purchase in Scandinavia instead. Saab-Bofors (or UK BAE/German LFK (EADS/MBDA)/...) would probably be happy to supply whatever needed as far as targeting and missiles go and Nokia most likely get their antennas right (never mind the ovi store and getting things out before everyone has passed you.)

Or as Stewie Griffin would had put it: Where's my money!?

Why is the CIA attacking anything? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691042)

The CIA is involved in the collection and analysis of foreign data.

Building an attack drone is, let's say, missing the mark.

Re:Why is the CIA attacking anything? (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691050)

Haven't read up much about the CIA have you?

Re:Why is the CIA attacking anything? (5, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691250)

Maybe they need to analyze the effect of high-speed projectiles on foreigners.

Re:Why is the CIA attacking anything? (5, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691582)

The CIA is involved in the collection and analysis of foreign data.

Building an attack drone is, let's say, missing the mark.

You don't understand. Sometimes the foreign data they need to collect and analyze (mostly just analyze) is in a hardened bunker, or warehouse, or mud compound. They can't just land the drone and drive it into the mud compound very well, can they? The easiest way to expose the data they need to analyze is to remove the roof of the building. This allows the drone to take pictures of whatever used to be in the building, without landing, so that they can analyze it.

Re:Why is the CIA attacking anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691600)

Actually, i believe it was Eisenhower that established the CIA, but in any event, they are an anti-communist espionage organization, famous for setting up coup's such as the bay of pigs invasion. This is right up their alley.

Re:Why is the CIA attacking anything? (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691660)

Quick, somebody make this guy a tin foil hat. The brain control waves must have gotten to him...

Confounded (-1, Offtopic)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691060)

And in the end days they will be confounded by their own complexity. The New Testament has interesting remarks.

Re: Confounded (1, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691074)

Oh please... Indoor plumbing was too complex for the people that wrote the new testament..

Re: Confounded (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691524)

You asked for it. Plumbing in Jerusalem [theplumber.com]

Re: Confounded (3, Informative)

Yold (473518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691554)

The Romans had plumbing and they were occupying Jerusalem at the time the New Testament was written... but please don't allow facts to stand in the way of your religion-bashing.

Re: Confounded (5, Funny)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691636)

Fine fine understanding that the stars are giant balls of burning gas just like the sun and like the sun could have planets and like the planet earth some of them could have light was too complex for the people that wrote the new testament.

Re: Confounded (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691810)

So the Romans wrote the New Testament?

Re: Confounded (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691560)

Knowing a bit about the people who wrote the New Testament, I seriously disagree with your comment.

Electrical outlets today kill children with tweezers, I don't hear you trying to change anything about our domestic infrastructure.

Re: Confounded (2, Funny)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691644)

That's just thinning the herd.

Re: Confounded (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691138)

Yeah, we wouldn't want people to think too hard, that might be "dangerous".

/rollseyes

Because it must be linked: (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691062)

Wow. (4, Insightful)

rcb1974 (654474) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691068)

Out of all the hardware that is controlled by software, I would have thought drone software would be the most scrutinized. Unbelievable. Even more reason why we should not arm robots (even remote human operated ones) with weapons such as Hellfire missiles.

Re:Wow. (5, Funny)

Firemouth (1360899) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691122)

Out of all the hardware that is controlled by software, I would have thought drone software would be the most scrutinized. Unbelievable. Even more reason why we should not arm robots (even remote human operated ones) with weapons such as Hellfire missiles.

On the contrary, this is the reason why we should arm robots with BIGGER weapons! One's that it won't make a difference if you're off by 13 meters...

Re:Wow. (2, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691190)


One's that it won't make a difference if you're off by 13 meters...

Nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

Re:Wow. (4, Funny)

srussia (884021) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691414)

Out of all the hardware that is controlled by software, I would have thought drone software would be the most scrutinized. Unbelievable. Even more reason why we should not arm robots (even remote human operated ones) with weapons such as Hellfire missiles.

On the contrary, this is the reason why we should arm robots with BIGGER weapons! One's that it won't make a difference if you're off by 13 meters...

Leave the weapon out altogether, just include a divide-by-zero error in the code!

Re:Wow. (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691130)

Even more reason why we should not arm robots (even remote human operated ones) with weapons such as Hellfire missiles.

On the other hand, arming the drones with nukes would guarantee they hit their target despite their lack of accuracy.

Re:Wow. (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691212)

The bad news: If you use nukes, then coders will get even more lazy and feel they don't have to use asserts and end up being so off that the drones nuke New Jersey instead of Afghanistan.

The good news: Such as catastrophe just be enough to take Jersey Shore off the air.

Re:Wow. (0, Offtopic)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691268)

If you put an assert in any embedded code I would fire you.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691372)

asserts don't run in release builds, retard. They're used for debugging.

Re:Wow. (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691438)

You're fired.

Patent violation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691626)

Hope you paid your $699 licensing fee to use that remark, you cocksmoking teabagger!

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691580)

Don't asserts usually get ignored in code that's compiled for production? You might want to ask your employees about that before you start randomly firing people who actually know how to use asserts. They're quite rare.

Re:Wow. (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691272)

The good news: Such as catastrophe just be enough to take Jersey Shore off the air.

But then all the guidos and guido-wannabes will off themselves. Hmm... Okay. Proceed.

Re:Wow. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691420)

The good news: Such as catastrophe just be enough to take Jersey Shore off the air.

Rumor has it that Jersey Shore is offensive to Afghans.

Re:Wow. (5, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691608)

Rumor has it that Jersey Shore is offensive to Americans.

Re:Wow. (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691832)

Rumor has it that Jersey Shore is offensive to Americans.

Mod that rumor up Insightful!

Re:Wow. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691756)

drones nuke New Jersey instead of Afghanistan.

I'm pretty sure everyone that didn't get vaporized in New Jersey would consider this a good thing, Americans and Afghanies alike.

Re:Wow. (1)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691782)

The good news: Such as catastrophe just be enough to take Jersey Shore off the air.

No, they'll just change the title to Pennsylvania Shore.

Re:Wow. (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691358)

With big enough nukes they will get the target no matter how far they hit, along with everything else.

Re:Wow. (5, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691174)

It's amazing that drone hardware is fairly well designed, but its software design and implementation is so slapdash. Just last year, it was revealed that the Drones broadcasted its video feed in unencrypted form and was being used by militants to spy on us.

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/121709-drone-intercept-encryption.html [networkworld.com]

Re:Wow. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691240)

Why should government software be any different than any other software?

Testing is for Agile wusses. Real men write it right the first time.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691592)

A couple things:
- The old video is transmitted analog so it can be picked up using rudimentary equipment;
- You can only observe the video, not move the camera around;
- The move is towards TCDL and digitally encrypted video (along with other data) so this will (hopefully) become a moot point

The only "spying" the militants could do on us would be if we were staring at our own base. Generally there are no-look zones set up around the bases such that the UAV should never be monitoring its own base.

Re:Wow. (4, Informative)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691740)

Spying isn't limited to looking at the enemy's base. The patrol patterns of the drones, for instance, tells insurgents where US army forces are looking at. This allows them to move to new locations or hide if they notice the drones moving towards familiar territory.

Re:Wow. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691260)

The rules for scrutinizing code for aircraft are based on the danger involved in not scrutinizing it enough. And the military doesn't have the same edict to follow them as commercial aviation does.

Since drones are unmanned, their code would get less scrutiny than manned aircraft, if it gets any scrutiny at all.

Normally, it will be scrutinized, inspected, tested, qualified, etc. But if anything goes wrong, the military can waive the requirement and take what it gets in order to meet a deadline.

Re:Wow. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691448)

I wonder if there is any real problem.
And before anyone gets all bent hear me out and I mean from a tactical point of view.
Does it matter if the the drone ends up 13 meters away from a check point?
When using a Hellfire the operator will manually point the camera/laser at the target and fire the missile.
It really doesn't matter because there is a man in the using a laser designator.

If the Drone is dropping JDams then there may be a problem.
I believe there are two modes. One where the drone/pane uses it's video/laser systerm to pick the target.
This is the most accurate because it is a differential system. The plane tells the bomb to hit the target x meters away in y direction from where the GPS says we are now.

The other mode is a blind drop where the JDam goes to a preset area.

So no Hellfire missiles will work just fine. JDAMS may be an issue but I are they using them in the pre-programmed mode much? I can not see a good reason why when using a drone.

Oh and as to not arming robots? Too late really. We have been doing it for ever 100 years now.
The Torpedo is a Robot. The first ones where really steampunk killing robots. Suicidal ones to be sure but still robots.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691496)

It looks to me, from reading the original story, that the software in question is part of a intelligence data warehouse. It's probably used to identify potential targets, but isn't part of the actual Drone navigation / targeting systems.

Of course if it leads the Drone operator to blow up the building across the alley from the real target Bad Things Happen.

Re:Wow. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691504)

No, the most scrutinized things with software are probably cars. Thats good in that way because they are used for driving hundreds of millions of kilometers each day. An deadly error occurring once every 1000000 kilometers for a single device will kill 100s of people per day.

Salesmen promising too much (4, Funny)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691142)

And sub contractor steadfastly saying that they can't deliver production ready software in the given time fame.

Where have I heard that before? .. ah yes .. the current death march project that I am in the middle of!

Re:Salesmen promising too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691238)

stop posting on slashdot you lazy sob. And go back to your march.

Re:Salesmen promising too much (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691298)

stop posting on slashdot you lazy sob. And go back to your march.

The reason I *am* posting is that we have hit an issue with a third party system and I am waiting for their tech support to get back to me with a solution to the problem that their system causes. I thought I was going to be done with this project last Monday.

Re:Salesmen promising too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691338)

Cool down, it was a misguided attempts at humors

Re:Salesmen promising too much (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691402)

Hey I am cooled down .. you didn't see any "all-caps", not a single exclamation mark and nary a swearword! And I got the humor.

Re:Salesmen promising too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691446)

I meant cool down from the march... relax, enjoy your break

please accept my apologies, i am worst than usual with words and people today

Re:Salesmen promising too much (1)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691542)

I meant cool down from the march... relax, enjoy your break

please accept my apologies, i am worst than usual with words and people today

No worries .. I am wired after a month of 14-18 hour days, 7 days a week, a couple of all nighters and now I am hanging on hearing back from tech support on a Friday afternoon when they seem to have t no clue that they product is causing a problem.

Re:Salesmen promising too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691248)

It is a common theme, really. Part of the issue is that people like to pretend that writing software is somehow analogous to building a house.

Re:Salesmen promising too much (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691478)

funny that. I'm in the same place, having just been responsible for debugging the project and in spite of everyone else's bungles, making sure it's going to be delivered to the customers only a month late.

Not *that* big of a deal. (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691152)

If the bug is actually limited to reducing accuracy by 13, that's not a huge deal given the kill zone of hellfire missiles.

Re:Not *that* big of a deal. (2, Insightful)

Tsunayoshi (789351) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691204)

Unless you're in the house 13 meters down the street from the real target :)

Re:Not *that* big of a deal. (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691354)

Hellfires don't use GPS for targeting.

Re:Not *that* big of a deal. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691390)

Actually, the Hellfire has a relatively small warhead. 18-20lbs depending on model. Hitting the house 50 feet from your intended target away may well make a big difference, especially if there is a wall or two between.

Re:Not *that* big of a deal. (1)

Alanbly (1433229) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691456)

Hellfire missiles are anti-tank weapons, they used a High-explosive shaped charge to destroy armor. Their blast radius isn't extremely large. More at issue is that 13 meters is enough to easily miss an entire bunker. The effective radius of the armor piercing effect is something like 2 meters per http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_explosive_anti-tank_warhead [wikipedia.org] .

Off by 13 meters? (5, Funny)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691158)

No one will ever need more than 13 meters accuracy.

Re:Off by 13 meters? (3, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691246)

Fuck You!

-Signed,
Princess Leia

AMEN Brother!
-Signed,
The Womp Rats

Re:Off by 13 meters? (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691262)

I used to bullseye womprats from my T-16 back home. They're only about 2 meters.

So why the big deal?

:-)

Re:Off by 13 meters? (1)

throckmorten (116516) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691594)

If the warhead is sufficiently large enough to compensate, does it really matter how far off you are?

Predicted future news: (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691188)

CIA Predator drone misses assassination target, hits US diplomat in area for deniability purposes. IISi blamed despite the fact that the drone is still using buggy, inferior code.

I think they buried the lead.... (4, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691224)

to direct secret assassination drones in central Asia.

The CIA has the authority to direct secret assassination drones? Inside of Pakistan and possibly other countries?

Did we learn NOTHING from the Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua, the equipping of the Mujaheddin with weapons, etc... ? The CIA should not be fighting wars. We're supposed to be the city upon the hill. We shouldn't be fighting our wars in secrecy.

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691264)

Of course we did not, or we would not be creating more Irans by propping up dictators.

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (5, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691284)

To quote many prominent Republicans, "9-11 changed everything."

To be fair, it did. It gave cover for authoritarian assholes to do whatever they wanted to do. Fighting wars in secrecy is just the tip of the iceberg. Welcome to the large gulag, comrade.

9-11 was just a drop in the ocean (2, Informative)

Steeltoe (98226) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691444)

To be fair, fighting wars in secrecy has been going on for a long long time, way before 9-11, making it the proverbial drop in the ocean:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions [wikipedia.org]

Now, what should upset the American public is that 9-11 was probably engineers or supported by "allied" forces, in order to escalate conflict levels and justify wars.

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691334)

Dude. That's been common knowledge for years.

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691360)

Did we learn NOTHING from the Bay of Pigs, Nicaragua, the equipping of the Mujaheddin with weapons, etc... ?

They learned a lesson. Humans are flawed. But the machines, the machines will surely never turn upon their masters.

It's perfectly safe.

Why does my Roomba have a knife??

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691398)

Equipping the Muj with weapons was worth it, even counting the blowback (which was more consequence of ABANDONING A-stan than equipping the Muj).

Lest we forget, the Cold War was a VASTLY more important and larger struggle than the current police actions. A few thousand or few tens of thousands dead in late consequence of that existential conflict is a trifle. We are too easily impressed by small wars nowadays.

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691458)

A few thousand or few tens of thousands dead in late consequence of that existential conflict is a trifle. We are too easily impressed by small wars nowadays.

What do you mean we kemosabe?

Wouldn't it be nice if the people who felt it was acceptable to kill a few thousand people for their political goals were included in the total?

Re:I think they buried the lead.... (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691650)

I'm fine with fighting wars to bring harm to those who seek to harm us. I'm even ok with fighting wars to remove tyrants who bring conflict and genocide to our planet.

I'm just not ok with fighting these wars in secrecy, or the fact that my country condones assassination (i.e. murder) in any form. If we have a just cause, there is no need to use a veil of secrecy.

Not to mention the fact that we live in a (representative) democracy, so keeping the voters uninformed is no better than rigging an election.

Also, how can we condemn others for murder and assassination of leaders, when we are, in fact, the largest perpetrator of assassinations in the world (along with Mossad)?

Lest we forget (1, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691824)

The Cold War arose because of the Russian fear of the nuclear-armed US (they had after all nearly been destroyed by Germany, a smaller country) and their desire to create buffer zones in the West of the Soviet Union. That, and what that notorious left-winger Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex".

However, as I suspect that you're writing that from your parents' basement, I doubt that you actually know any history, or were even around for the Cold War."We are too easily impressed by small wars nowadays"- if you knew any history, you would know that the Western invasion of Germany was a limited war because high casualties would not be accepted by the American and British public. Read up on Eisenhower. You need to learn about the greatest American general.

ROFL (3, Funny)

sir lox elroy (735636) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691230)

What did the CIA also think the Toyota "Bug" was a feature. Great car, drives it self. :-)

Re:ROFL (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691410)

Actually that turned out to be driver error.

Re:ROFL (3, Insightful)

srw (38421) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691822)

Yup. And Therac-25 turned out to be operator error.

Until later, when it became clear it was very badly designed software.

IP theft by drone overlords! (5, Insightful)

skynexus (778600) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691288)

Military drones, armed and dangerous, operating software resulting from IP theft?

Heh... I'd love to see the Business Software Alliance go after these guys... :-)

Illegally? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691328)

It's doubtful it was illegal. It may or may not have run foul of some licensing contracts, but isn't reverse engineering generally legal?

13 meters? (4, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691340)

so what?

hellfires are laser guided, not GPS. a predator reporting its position as being 13 meters wrong is basically nothing....and a non-issue with regards to missile targeting.

if the predator was dropping JDAMS, i could see the issue. but even then, 13 meters is well within the CPE allowed for the JDAM.

Re:13 meters? (4, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691514)

If my understanding is correct, this software was used to determine the locations of people making phone calls. So if it's off by 13 meters, the operator may chose the wrong target. The missile being laser guided doesn't help you if you're laser guiding it to the wrong place.

Re:13 meters? (2, Informative)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691726)

You misunderstand how the hellfire / predator platform works.

Several systems can fly the predator to the target area. Once in the target area, remote operators designate the target on the video feed, which is to say (in this phone call scenario) the operators designate the person making the phone call on the TV screen. The target designator is a laser device on the predator which sends encoded information in the beam to actually hit the target. Where the laser target beam hits the target, it shines. Electro-optics and servos keep the designator on the designated target. The hellfire is fired and goes to where it sees the correctly-coded shining.

A hellfire, tow, dragon, or javelin doesn't care where it is, where it was, or where the target is. they just go where they are steered. No GPS, no grid.

In any case, 13 meters is nothing. Civilians have been watching too many movies to think war is fought on that scale. A 10-digit MGRS grid is 2 digits too many for calling in anything.

Re:13 meters? (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691662)

So a 13 meter error is acceptable, even though that's the result of a bug caused by copying software that was accurate?

You must be in the military, Mr. Ghandi, if that is your real name...

Re:13 meters? (1)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691760)

How the software came into being is important. If it was ripped off from someone else, they should fix that. If there's errors, they should fix those.

But 13 meters? You must have NEVER served in any armed force, Friend of NYCL, if that is your real name...

Re:13 meters? (1)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691668)

Could you (or someone else with satisfactory knowledge) decrypt that for those unfamiliar with your acronyms and understanding of military technology?

Re:13 meters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691722)

If the Predator's GPS position is 13 meters off, its inertial navigation system is going to be 13 meters off, every grid the operator cues to is going to be 13 meters off, the laser is going to be 13 meters off, and the Hellfire is going to be 13 meters off. That's not counting targeting errors introduced by the difference between the real elevation and the DTED elevation, or instability of the platform, which can also throw you a few meters off. This might not matter for a ground-designated target or a target with a good visual description, but if you have a high value target identified only by a grid (eg. SIGINT) it could cause problems. It'll definitely ruin your product if you're doing IMINT, 13 meters is a lot in an urban area.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. Now we know that all those plaintext FMV feeds intercepted by the bad guys probably weren't aimed at the right targets. We were feeding them disinformation all along. Maybe two wrongs really do make a right.

4th branch of government (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691346)

Welcome to the fourth branch of US government, the bureaucracies with power of life and death.

Netezza (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691376)

I had no idea... We use the Netezza stuff at work. It has very impressive query performance. Nothing we're doing will cause anyone to die, however.

Better idea... (4, Funny)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691572)

Capture these badly programmed drones, reinstall them with some sweet, sweet Linux goodness, use them for fun aerial combat play, and taking snaps of bikini-clad neighbors. Problem solved. Patent not pending. Come as you are. There you go.

Open letter to terrorists (2, Funny)

or-switch (1118153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691654)

Dear Terrorists, Due to a minor software glitch we request that you stay within 13 meters of your cell phone at all times. No reason, we just appreciate your help. Thanks, The US Government P.S. Don't look up P.P.S. ....no...what whistling noise do you hear?

Anonymous Coward (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33691738)

Anyone who works in/for the U.S. military industrial complex should quit if they have any shred of morality in their being. It's way beyond defense.

Let me see if I have this straight (2, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#33691826)

1) US creates military drones used in Pakistan.

2) Drones are controlled using software.

3) Software company that writes drone software is bought by IBM.

4) Software can now, potentially, be outsourced to IBM development personnel in um, Pakistan.

Is it just me, or is something wrong with this picture?

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