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EPIC FOIA – US Drones Intercept Electronic Communications and Identify Human Targets

EPIC [1]
March 2, 2013

New records [2] obtained by EPIC under the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection [3] is operating drones in the United States capable of intercepting electronic communications.

The records also suggest [4] that the ten Predator B drones operated by the agency have the capacity to recognize and identify a person on the ground. Approximately, 2/3 of the US population is subject to surveillance [5] by the CBP drones.

The documents were provided in response to a request from EPIC [6] for information about the Bureau’s use of drones across the country. The agency has made the Predator drones available to other federal, state, and local agencies.

The records obtained by EPIC raise questions abut the agency’s compliance with federal privacy laws and the scope of domestic surveillance.

For more information, see EPIC: Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Drones [7].