U.S. Justice Dept. Acknowledges Domestic Drone Use By FBI, DEA and Other Agencies With New Guidelines

On Friday (5/22), the U.S. Justice Department released its first ever written guidelines for domestic drone use.

The move marks the first time that the government has publicly acknowledged that the FBI, DEA and other federal agencies have been using unmanned aerial drones for operations within the United States. According to the AP,

“The unmanned aircraft already have been used in kidnapping, drug and fugitive cases, as well as search and rescue operations, the department said.”

The guidelines also suggest that these agencies will be increasing their domestic use of drones in coming years.

According to the AP, the five-page document, “emphasizes the need to respect civil and constitutional rights.” It also states that agencies can’t use drones, “solely to monitor protests and other constitutionally protected activities.”

The new guidelines come nearly two years after the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) published a report on domestic drone use. In his report, the OIG called on the Justice Department to, “develop privacy rules that protect Americans from another mass surveillance technology.”

The Justice Department says that annual reviews will be carried out to ensure that agencies are following the guidelines.

Read the original report from the AP.

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