Published on May 9th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


“Accidental” Surveillance By US Drones Kept For 90 Days

It is loudly proclaimed that the US doesn’t use its constantly growing drone fleet for surveillance within the borders of the United States, except there’s a slight problem with that statement – there’s a loophole.

According the Air Force policy, or rather a clause within that policy, any photos and videos of US citizens taken without their consent can be kept for 90 days. This is conveniently referred to as “accidental surveillance” and it can, and will be, analyzed to determine if those images or video can be kept under current domestic spying laws.

Needless to say this has caused some concern, and quite rightly, among concerned parties like Steven Aftergood, a member of the Federation of American Scientists and the person who came across the clause. To those looking into this the wording is just a fancy way of getting around the law because the Air Force can claim “accidental surveillance” but still be able to investigate the footage using the claim that they have to verify if it can be kept or not.

 Even if you avoid the cynical proposition that an Air Force engineer might be tempted to “accidentally” leave the cameras rolling during a test flight over a sensitive area, the idea of investigating evidence for wrongdoing after it’s been collected is something like justifying a search warrant with the drugs that a DEA agent discovered after illegally entering a private residence.

If the evidence collected by the Air Force is indeed found to incriminate US citizens, it can be shared with law enforcement agencies with a court order. The Air Force’s domestic interests only extend to terrorist activities and large-scale drug enforcement, but there’s no stipulation of what purpose the surveillance has to serve if it’s passed around.

via Slashgear

So, who’s watching the watchers?



Tags: , , ,

About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

Comments are closed.

Back to Top ↑