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In January 10 2012 EFF filed suit against FAA seeking information about drone flights within US borders.
FAA is the only federal government agency that can authorize drone flight, and for long time now it hasn’t released information who can fly drone within US borders.
Americans don’t know too much about drone use, even that US military has used them in various missions around the world for more than 15 years. The first use of drones in military was in 1995 in Boston and it was the predator drone. Also in Iraq and Afghanistan war they were used for surveillance in mission.
But now drones are being used also for non-military purpose raising significant privacy concerns. In 2011 US Costume and Border Protections purchase its ninth drone to patrol borders. Also, local policy has been using drones to catch drug dealers, find lost persons also even to record traffic violations. Drones are highly advanced technologies, they can carry equipment’s like video camera, infra-red camera, radar, heat sensor, also some new drones carry super high-resolution camera and can track people from altitude above 20,000 feet and can see targets from 25 miles away. Predator drones that are used mostly in military can also intercept text messages and phone calls also crack WI-FI networks. Depending on their size and how high they can fly, drones can operate undetected in urban areas allowing government spy on Americans. Even if they know that they are being spy is unclear what laws would protect against this. Also, Supreme Court has stated that Fourth Amendment law don’t apply when it’s not a human that is doing the research.
Drones that can fly over 400 feet need a certification from the FAA, part of DOT, but there is no information available for the public that who has obtained these authorizations and for what purpose. In April EFF filed a freedom of Information’s Act for records of drones, but DOT hasn’t provided info so far. Drones give their operators ability to gather information about movements and activities of Americans. -said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. As government begin to make policy decision about drones, the public need to know more how and why these drones are being use to survey them.
«Drones will increase the physical tracking of citizens, tracking them will violate their privacy», said Lynch. This is why EFF is asking DOT to response to their request so citizens can learn more who is flying drones and why.
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