New Documents Reveal U.S. Marshals’ Drones Experiment, Underscoring Need for Government Transparency
The use of surveillance drones is growing rapidly in the United States, but we know little about how the federal government employs this new technology. Now, new information obtained by the ACLU shows for the first time that the U.S. Marshals Service has experimented with using drones for domestic surveillance.
We learned this through documents we released today, received in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents are available here. (We also released a short log of drone accidents from the Federal Aviation Administration as well as accident reports and other documents from the U.S. Air Force.) This revelation comes a week after a bipartisan bill to protect Americans’ privacy from domestic drones was introduced in the House.
Although the Marshals Service told us it found 30 pages about its drones program in response to our FOIA request, it turned over only two of those pages—and even they were heavily redacted.
Here’s what we know from the two short paragraphs of text we were able to see. Under a header entitled “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program,” an agency document overview begins:
"USMS Technical Operations Group's UAV Program provides a highly portable, rapidly deployable overhead collection device that will provide a multi-role surveillance platform to assist in [redacted] detection of targets."
Read the rest here...