Is this Disney character teaching kids to love drone surveillance?

Spycraft at its cuddliest.


Miles Klee


Published Jan 28, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 8:04 pm CDT

Disney’s Special Agent Oso, an interactive animated series for kids, has been around for years now. It’s only in the wake of more recent NSA revelations and increased drone use, though, that the show’s premise—and a particular side character—have come to seem propagandistic.

It’s one thing that our hero, the special agent bear of the title, helps children carry out household missions in accordance with orders from an intelligence entity known as the United Network for the Investigation of Quite Unusual Events, or U.N.I.Q.U.E. Altogether more disturbing is a robotic, spycam-fitted ladybug known as Shutterbug, who sends everything she sees “right up to the satellite,” which bounces it back to an agency base hidden somewhere in a misty forest.

What’s more, Shutterbug appears to be but one in a team of such aerial recording devices, presumably dispatched all around the globe. She’s nominally charged with the task of reporting a child’s distress, or perhaps sulkiness, but something about the way her POV frames subjects in a big, red, target-like circle makes her presence feel a bit more threatening. If you were looking for a way to make a new generation accept the inevitability of 24/7 surveillance, you could do a heck of a lot worse.

But check out this introductory music video and judge for yourself:     

At the very least, it’s enough to make you think that domestically deployed U.S. drones would be less controversial if they had cuter paintjobs. Or their own theme song! We’re sure they’ll work out the kinks eventually.

Photo by TheOldWorldOrder Page/YouTube

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*First Published: Jan 28, 2014, 2:29 pm CST