Feeds

Judge Dredd 'Black Box' recorder/spy kit for guns unveiled

An accident you say, sergeant? But you reloaded. Twice

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

But 'Black Boxes' aren't really for maintenance - they're for the subsequent investigation

So far, so uncontroversial. But FN seem to hint at other uses to which the gizmo might be put - indeed the choice of name offers a broad hint that investigations following a shooting or a firefight might make use of the records held in weapons used. Monitoring might go further than this, with the company saying:

The FN Black Box can also communicate useful information to the chain of command during a mission. It contains the identification number of the weapon and, thus, can indirectly identify the soldier. When coupled to a GPS, it can transmit its identification and localization data to the upper level of the command through the communication equipment of the soldier.

Most current and planned digital-soldier rigs already include GPS, in some cases enhanced by the use of other navigation aids. It seems that with the addition of Black Box, commanders may know not just how many shots their troops fire and when, but where they were as they did so - perhaps in real time. The scheme is somewhat reminiscent of the idea, sometimes suggested for US police, of automatic gun cameras intended to record the target of every shot fired for use in subsequent investigations.

Fans of Judge Dredd will recall that his personal sidearm, the Lawgiver pistol, had capabilities akin to this in some versions - perhaps going as far as the tagging of every round fired with the user's DNA signature. (Though in the movie, even this level of record-keeping didn't suffice to protect an innocent Dredd from being busted by his fellow judges for a crime he hadn't committed.)

FN don't mention DNA bullet-tagging specifically, but they do say that the Black Box is intended to form just part of their planned "Armatronics™" kit, "a fully integrated system of electronic solutions mounted on or inside a weapon. Additional enhancements for increased functionality to the system are on the horizon as new technologies are explored."

The introduction of such systems might be used as much to keep tabs on cops or troops as to help them out with logistics and maintenance. And Black Box guvmint gunbutt spy modules required in every licensed weapon, doubtless remotely accessible by federal busybodies, would seem like a vaguely plausible bogeyman to disturb the sleep of many a righteous, free, gun-toting American.

Even more chillingly for those who see personal weapons as a guarantee of freedom from government oppression, FN speak of the Black Box as a "weapon manager", hinting that feds, military superiors etc. might even be able to disable a gun remotely. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.