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What BuzzFeed journalists learned from 4 month study of FBI, DHS drone flight patterns

by AirTalk®

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An investigation by the Associate Press found that many small planes flying low over neighborhoods are part of an FBI civilian air patrol. The FBI created fake companies in order to obscure the true purpose of the aircraft and pilots, and to prevent suspects from being able to identify them. Sherwood 411/KPCC

(BUZZFEED) Each weekday, dozens of U.S. government aircraft take to the skies and slowly circle over American cities.

Piloted by agents of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the planes are fitted with high-resolution video cameras, often working with “augmented reality” software that can superimpose onto the video images everything from street and business names to the owners of individual homes.

At least a few planes have carried devices that can track the cell phones of people below. Most of the aircraft are small, flying a mile or so above ground, and many use exhaust mufflers to mute their engines — making them hard to detect by the people they’re spying on.

Read the full story from BuzzFeed here.


Charles Seife, author, journalist, and professor of journalism at New York University; he is also a BuzzFeed contributor and co-author of the article ‘Spies in the Skies

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