Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

We Mapped Where Customs and Border Protection Drones Are Flying in the U.S. and Beyond

Gizmodo: “Over nearly a decade since that standoff, the details of CBP’s drone operations have been vague. Previous reporting and public documents suggest that the agency operates a fleet of 10 Predator drones that are legally permitted to patrol within 100 air miles of the border—CBP also asserts the power to do so within 100 miles of any port of entry, like an international airport—but little is known about how often or in what circumstances CBP decides to use them. Indeed, CBP has gone to lengths to keep the public in the dark about its use of drone aircraft—flight data for its fleet doesn’t appear on many commercial databases, and the agency is light on specifics when it comes to who is being surveilled and why, only touting the results as evidence of a need for an ever-greater security envelope across the country. The agency has simultaneously tried to assert sweeping powers based on dubious legal authority. In some cases, such as warrantless searches of electronic devices on the border, CBP has lost. On other fronts, such as its tactical team deployments for immigration sweeps in cities across the country, broad powers to stop and search individuals within the border zone, and profiling and abuse, the agency has yet to be reined in. To better understand how CBP uses its fleet of Predators, Gizmodo mapped and analyzed one year’s worth of flight data from seven of the 10 Predators in CBP’s fleet. The data, obtained through Tampa-based flight tracking company RadarBox, reveals that since June of 2019, these seven drones have completed more than 150 flights—patrolling the southern and northern borders, zig-zagging over politically active indigenous lands, and circling the skies over cities small and large—some of them far outside the U.S…”

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.