The latest Justice Department report on its use of drones for aerial surveillance across the United States comes at a time when growing concerns about privacy violation are making it a particularly hot-button issue.
Four different Justice Department bureaus are already spending money on drones, and the FBI has been deploying them domestically since 2006. The best the report can assure is that none of them were armed.
The report concedes that the use of drones is a potential privacy problem as well, urging “guidelines” on how they can be used. The assumption, however, is that they’re going to do virtually all of this in-house, with the FBI and ATF both working on their own such guidelines.
In the midst of the NSA fiasco there’s no reason for anyone to trust the Justice Department handling this in-house, however, and with the planned roll-outs coming pretty fast, this is going to be another big problem long before Congress is liable to act on it.