From 1968 until 1973, the US military spent about $1 billion a year on a new computer-powered initiative intended to end the war in Vietnam. It went by many names over the years — including Practice Nine, Muscle Shoals, Illinois City and Dye Marker. But today it’s most commonly known as Operation Igloo White. Despite being a high-priced technological failure for the US military, Igloo White was the first real-time, computer-driven surveillance operation program, set up during the Vietnam War. Advertisement The US military sought to build a virtual fence dividing North and South Vietnam. And in the process they helped to invent the modern electronic battlefield, whose technologies came back to the US in the early 1970s, where they were quickly deployed against drug cartels, smugglers, and anyone else trying to cross the border from Mexico. Igloo White also formed the bedrock of a border surveillance revolution that’s ongoing today. At the US-Mexico border, drones stalk the skies and electronic sensors alert Border Patrol agents to anyone trying to cross into the United States. What happened to Igloo White is not unlike the tech transfer from battlefield to border that we see today, as the machines used by American… Read full this story
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