The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued the Department of Homeland Security, demanding information about why its Predator drones have been lent out to law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation.
Following an increase in news reports of local law enforcement agencies being aided in surveillance operations by DHS-owned spy drones, the EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act request for more information but received no response from the agency.
Many of the instances in which local law enforcement agencies have used DHS drones were organized through partnerships with Customs and Border Protection, which routinely uses the unmanned vehicles to patrol the Nation’s southern border.
“We’ve seen bits and pieces of information on CBP’s Predator drones, but Americans deserve the full story,” said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. “Drones are a powerful surveillance tool that can be used to gather extensive data about you and your activities. The public needs to know more about how and why these Predator drones are being used to watch U.S. citizens.”
The EFF is also suing the Federal Aviation Administration to obtain records regarding the authorization of drone flights conducted throughout the Nation by domestic police departments.
“FAA’s foot-dragging means we can’t get a real-time picture of drone activity in the U.S.,” said Lynch. “If officials could release their records in a timely fashion — or publish it as a matter of routine on the FAA website – we could stop filing these FOIA requests and lawsuits.”