Drones are seemingly very easy to get your hands on but government drones contain a level of secrecy and ingenuity that your regular market can’t provide. However, the big question here is how are government drones being used? A group of hackers looks to spy on drone with a balloon that will be launched as far as the stratosphere.

“One small crew of hackers is trying to pierce that stratospheric secrecy zone with a high-altitude flying—or at least floating—machine of their own,” according to Wired.

“The three members of a socially motivated movement of technologists known as Critical Engineering have developed and begun testing an ‘aerospace probe’ they call the Deep Sweep.” 

The overall design of the object is very discrete at all. The first aspect of the contraption is a helium-filled weather balloon which is added to help get the orb that measures in at 1-foot in diameter into the stratosphere. It’s not meant to look or operate like a drone but the hackers overall goal is to spy on the drones, satellites and high-altitude planes.

“As it floats up more than 15 miles into the earth’s atmosphere, the probe’s antennae are designed to record a wide range of radio data to be analyzed when the probe is recovered hours or days later,” according to the report.

“The core point of the project is to build a low-cost platform for high-altitude signals intelligence for the rest of us,” says Julian Oliver, a Berlin-based artist and hacker who launched the project along with fellow creators Bengt Sjöle and Danja Vasiliev. “It’s about creating an interface to read the signals in the skies above us, to understand what’s going on up there.”

The device is being tested in Germany, naturally, you could expect more contention by the Federal Aviation Administration if it were attempted in the U.S. but the developers are working on something that could be useful in countries across the globe.

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