An Independent journalist from Minnesota who calls himself Sam Renegade, broke a story on May 26 about a fleet of surveillance aircraft being used by the FBI. The Federal agency claims they are only used to spy on those who are under federal investigation (we believe that, right?). The aircraft are all listed under fictitious companies – and the surveillance is generally conducted without the approval of a US Court.
— Sam Renegade (@MinneapoliSam) May 26, 2015
A 4th Amendment snarl
CNS news wrote:
The planes’ surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge’s approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don’t know they’re being watched by the FBI.
…Except for all those videos that capture the activity of persons on the ground, or the technology “StingRay” that can identify cell phone users by mimicking a cell tower. The StingRay program is reportedly using court orders now, but the aircraft surveillance is not. The FBI claims that they are using court orders for unmanned drones, but not for the piloted aircraft. Small comfort.
The FBI used the planes in Baltimore during the riots, and we understand that could obviously be a good thing. All in all, technology can be used for good or bad, but the lawless nature of our current government puts our privacy into question on a daily basis.
The NSA 215 spying program may have lapsed temporarily, but that doesn’t mean the FBI can’t invade your privacy. Whether it’s drones with video cameras or planes, the 4th Amendment is under attack.