Just when you breathed a sigh of relief that the NSA was no longer collecting the metadata from your cell phone calls, now you might have to worry about being spied upon from the sky.
Here come the FBI planes.
It’s been revealed that the FBI has been maintaining a small fleet of low flying small aircraft which are equipped with video and sometimes cell phone surveillance technology. They have been flying over 30 cities in 11 states over the past month. And they’re usually flown without a judge’s approval.
Furthermore, these planes are registered to a number of fake companies, known as “FVX Research,” or “KQM Aviation,” “NBR Aviation,” or “PXW Services.” At least 115 planes have been registered to the FBI, according to a 2010 budget document. While the FBI maintains that these planes and their surveillance comply with agency rules, those rules are also heavily redacted in public documents. Most aircraft are registered under the name of “Robert Lindley,” whose signatures vary in appearance in different documents. It is unknown if ‘Robert Lindley’ is a government employee.
The Associated Press found that in a single flight taken last month by the FBI over Anaheim, CA, some 40,000 residents were circled by the FBI plane. These planes typically fly slowly, counter-clockwise, in orbits up to several miles wide and about one mile above the ground. Their technology not only can record videos, but can also capture information from cell phones, even from persons who are not suspected of committing crimes.
On Tuesday, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act to end the bulk collection of our telephone records. Now that they’ve accomplished that, perhaps they can look into the spies in the sky. But, wait, wasn’t there a Senator who said we should add 1000 more FBI agents as an alternative to the collection of metadata?
Yes. Yes there was. It was Rand Paul. Be careful for what you wish, Senator.