We know that the government, primarily through its official surveillance department known as the National Security Agency (NSA), has been spying on Americans for years. When thinking about government surveillance I would bet things like wiretaps in data centers are the first things to come to mind. What about small aircraft? As it turns out the government has been using them to spy on you as well:
The US Department of Justice has been using airplanes to collect Americans’ cell phone data, reports The Wall Street Journal’s Devlin Barrett.
The surveillance program, which is run by the US Marshals Service under the DOJ, has reportedly been in effect since 2007.
Officials have been using portable cell towers, known as “dirtboxes,” on small planes to collect identity and location information on cell phone users.
Those Cessna aircrafts fly from at least five airports near major cities, effectively allowing them to surveil most Americans.
Considering what we know thanks to Edward Snowden this isn’t surprising. Really this is just a Stringray with wings, which means it has a lot of range. What this story really shows is just how much time, effort, and money the state is dumping into its various programs to spy on each and every one of us.