Air Force Drones Allowed to Record U.S. Citizens in U.S.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Like the rest of the U.S. military, the Air Force isn’t supposed to spy on Americans. But the secretary of the Air Force, Michael Donley, has decided the service’s drones can conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” of people in the U.S. for a limited time.
An April 23 document uncovered by Secrecy News revealed the Air Force’s top official authorized unmanned aircraft to collect imagery of Americans on the ground. The service can also store this data for 90 days. Although the directive was written to limit surveillance of innocent Americans, it contains a loophole that does the opposite.
“In other words, if an Air Force drone accidentally spies on an American citizen, the Air Force will have three months to figure out if it was legally allowed to put that person under surveillance in the first place,” wrote Spencer Ackerman at Wired.
To Learn More:
USAF Drones May Conduct “Incidental” Domestic Surveillance (by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News)
Oops! Air Force Drones Can Now (Accidentally) Spy on You (by Spencer Ackerman, Wired)
Air Force Instruction 14-104 (Secretary of the Air Force) (pdf)
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