Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Spy Planes Spying on Texas


Last year Buzzfeed released an award winning investigation into the use of spy planes by the FBI and the DHS over mainland America. Buzzfeed's Spies in the Skies investigation mapped out the flight paths of the FBI and the DHS planes to reveal the areas where these federal planes have been spying.

The Texas Observer has now released a very similar investigation into the aerial surveillance carried out by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). The Texas Department of Public Safety owns two high altitude spy planes.

In Eyes Above Texas the Texas Observer has used tracking data for the two planes, obtained from Flightradar24, to create a map of where the planes have flown. The Esri map shows all the known flight paths undertaken by both planes from January 1, 2015 to July 31, 2017. The map includes a closer view of all the places where the two planes might have flown into Mexico. Under the Department of Public Safety's own rules the planes are not allowed to fly over other countries.

The Observer has used DPS flight logs to color code the planes' flight paths to show those where the flight's purpose is for border security and those where the flights have another purpose. The Observer's map also includes a search facility. You can therefore enter your own address to see how often the DPS spy planes have flown over your house.
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