Remember that hugely ambitious "virtual fence" that the US Homeland Security department was so keen on blowing a few billion dollars on? Well, following a bunch of setbacks and delays in its development, it's now been determined to be too darn expensive and is being scrapped. That's not without splashing some cash, however, as it's estimated that a billion dollars has already been spent on installing sensor towers along a 53-mile stretch of the Arizona border with Mexico. The plan now is to redirect funds to more conventional (and commercially available) surveillance measures, such as thermal imaging and unmanned aerial drones, which is estimated to cost $750 million to cover the remaining 323 miles of Arizona's border. Whatever happens, keeping illegal immigration and contraband smuggling to a minimum isn't going to be a cheap task. Almost makes you wonder if this isn't a problem better solved by non-technological means.

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US opts to derez virtual fence along Mexico border, replacing it with more affordable measures