June 11, 2015

Surveillance Drone Tech Being Challenged

watching youWith drone technology becoming more and more commonplace, it’s not surprising that citizens and elected officials alike are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with constant, warrantless monitoring.  Just this week, Senators Dean Heller and Ron Wyden from Nevada and Oregon respectively, introduced new legislation that would require the government to abstain from drone surveillance without a warrant.

Protecting Individuals from Mass Aerial Surveillance Act

The newly proposed legislation comes as a result of a recent admission by the Federal government that the FBI (at the very least) has been using and continues to use drones and other planes to actively spy on selected citizens of the United States.  They even went so far as to create fictitious companies and logos to disguise their aircraft while conducting their warrantless surveillance.

The issue was not isolated.  Over 40 craft were traced and determined to belong to the investigative agency.  They participated in over 100 surveillance flights in the skies of 11 states, and this was just since the end of April.

Concerned Citizens

With the recent advances in drone technology and surveillance technology in general, it’s no wonder that citizens and politicians alike are concerned about just what information the government is gathering from the skies over a mile above our heads.  The agency has gone to great lengths to keep these high-tech, high-flying surveillance missions under wraps.  With sock companies and fictitious aircraft registrations traced back to primarily a single “Robert Lindley” as their owner, it’s clear the FBI is trying to keep it’s warrantless spying on US citizens hidden.

The FBI itself has said very little, simply coming out in its own defense to state that they aren’t being secretive but rather protecting their technology with their closed lips.

Individual Targets

surveillance dronePerhaps most disturbing, the FBI fully admits that their surveillance is not some kind of metadata collection but targeted on specific individuals.  This admission, coupled with the fact that the agency isn’t using proper legal channels to get warrants for investigative/search purposes has many citizens very uneasy.

The bottom line is that no one really knows what kind of technology the FBI is utilizing for their spy programs.  They won’t cop to it.  They call it classified/protected and simply go about doing what they want.  With the recent outcry about the collection of information regarding US citizens by various government agencies, it’s no surprise that even elected officials are getting into the fray.

Only time will tell whether or not the newly introduced legislation will pass, but even if it doesn’t the fact that it’s been introduced has the potential to open the door to some serious awareness and discussion.  It remains to be seen if the public can stem the tide of seemingly constant surveillance.  The Constitution seems to pretty clearly prohibit the practice.  Let’s hope our elected officials recognize this fact.