Eye in the Sky


By WNYC Studios

Eye in the Sky

Thursday, 18 June

Ross McNutt has a superpower — he can zoom in on everyday life, then rewind and fast-forward to solve crimes in a shutter-flash. But should he?

In 2004, when casualties in Iraq were rising due to roadside bombs, Ross McNutt and his team came up with an idea. With a small plane and a 44 mega-pixel camera, they figured out how to watch an entire city all at once, all day long. Whenever a bomb detonated, they could zoom onto that spot and then, because this eye in the sky had been there all along, they could scroll back in time and see - literally see - who planted it. After the war, Ross McNutt retired from the airforce, and brought this technology back home with him. Manoush Zomorodi and Alex Goldmark from the podcast “Note to Self” give us the low-down on Ross’s unique brand of persistent surveillance, from Juarez, Mexico to Dayton, Ohio. Then, once we realize what we can do, we wonder whether we should.

Special thanks to Dan Tucker and George Schulz.

If you're looking for the updated version of this show, you can check it out here.

More info:

Listen to Note to Self's episode on surveillance coverage. "New surveillance technology can track everyone in an area for several hours at a time," from the Washington Post "Hollywood-style surveillance technology inches closer to reality," from the Center of Investigative Reporting Ross McNutt's company Persistent Surveillance Systems
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