(Wired) In 2008 U.S. troops in Iraq discovered that Shi’ite insurgents had figured out how to tap and record video feeds from overhead American drones. Now you too can hack Washington’s globe-spanning fleet of silent, deadly armed robots — although legally, and only in an historical sense.
Josh Begley, a 28-year-old NYU grad student, has just created an application programming interface — basically, a collection of building blocks for software development — that allows anyone with basic coding skills to organize, analyze and visualize drone-strike data from Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia dating back to 2002.
Based on information collected by the U.K. Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the API can be used to create interactive Websites (similar to this) that add depth, context and even a little humanity to the sterile news reports of the latest Unmanned Aerial Vehicle strike in some far-away conflict zone.
Begley tells Danger Room he’s trying to bridge the “empathy gap” between Western audiences and drone-attack victims. “To Americans like me, what may have previously been blank spots on the map all of a sudden have complex stories, voices of their own. From 30,000 feet it might just be cars and buildings. But there are people in them. People who live under the drones we fly.”…read full article