Thursday, March 19, 2015

The private investigator who spies using drones

Chris Wright is a problem solver. Her clients come to her with an issue, a question, a mystery, and she figures out the best way to find the answer – using whatever tools she can. “I use a combination of new technology and old technology, because I have to solve a problem. So I’ve used everything from geese and dogs to Roombas to drones to GPS.”
Wright is a private investigator – and owner of the Wright Group – based in Anaheim, California. She’s worked in the business for more than 40 years, and has seen the tools available to investigators change dramatically. Early on, stakeouts in vans were important. More recently new technology in the form of tiny cameras and social media has begun to play a role. And she’s embraced those changes. Today, when the problem calls for it, she uses drones to do her work.
She gives me a few examples. If two people are meeting in a public place, a drone can be a helpful way to discreetly watch them. “We stay at about 50-75 feet [15-23 metres] above so nothing can be heard.” Drones are also helpful for aerial surveillance of locations that are hard to access on foot. And if a school or church is worried someone might be stealing or vandalising property, drones or small off-road vehicles (“Roombas on steroids” as she calls them) can film the property.
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TED 2015: Bill Gates warns on future disease epidemic

The world needs to prepare for the next major health crisis, Bill Gates has told delegates at the Ted (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference.
While Ebola seems to be being kept under control currently, next time "we may not be so lucky" the Microsoft co-founder warned.
He said that there were plenty of technology tools that could be used to contain the spread of a virus.
And, he added, governments should learn from how nations prepare for war.
"Nato plays war games to check that people are well-trained and prepared. Now we need germ games," he said.
He also called for a reserve "medical corps" similar to the reserve armies that civilians can join.
Technology can play a big role in helping prevent the spread of a virus, he told the Ted audience.
The proliferation of mobile phones mean that citizens can easily report where disease breaks out and satellite mapping can quickly collate where the problem areas are.
Meanwhile advances in biology have drastically cut the time it takes to develop vaccines for new viruses
During the Ebola crisis, technology firms such as IBM contributed tracking systems that allowed the authorities to create detailed maps of outbreaks based on text messages from citizens.
Bill Gates has long had an interest in global problems such as poverty and disease and the Gates Foundation, which he set up with his wife, has contributed millions to help solve the issues.
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