The FBI’s use of surveillance planes is neither surprising nor concerning. But when those planes are registered under fake companies, operate without a judge’s approval, are equipped with video and cell phone surveillance technology, and flew over 30 cities in 11 states in just the past month -- that’s cause for concern.
Fox News reports:
The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology -- all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.
Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.
U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department's inspector general.
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Recent events have confirmed that our federal government simply doesn’t care about protecting the privacy of its citizens. They’re used to doing with whatever they want, and they don’t believe the American people can hold them accountable.
It’s time to bring them down to size. A Convention of States, called under Article V of the Constitution, can propose constitutional amendments that significantly limit the power of the federal government. We’re working with volunteers and state legislatures across the country to do just that. Click here to get involved.