I about couldn’t believe my own eyes when I read this article: Predator drone uses less encryption than your TV, DVD’s. More importantly, the US has been aware of the issue since Bosnia, and removed the encryption, according to a CNN article, because “encryption was found to slow the real-time link”.
What will happen if it is discovered that US troops were placed at risk by the unencrypted video feed? What if insurgents are able to jam the signal or take over the Predator and employ it against our own troops? In this case, the military has placed operational convenience over the security, lives, and publicity of American citizens.
Why do I bring in publicity? Imagine the outcry if/when these live-feeds are sent back out by insurgents in near real-time? It is already well documented that Predator (and other UAV) attacks have killed civilians. (NY Times link for more info on UAVs). Furthermore, it also raises the question of how secure even the secured drones are. If even standard satellite dish software can pick up the communications, what would a more advanced counter-project such as the North Koreans, Iranians, Chinese, or Russians be able to do?