Thursday, April 07, 2016

Tracking the Government Spy Planes

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security make daily flights over American cities in spy planes equipped with high-resolution video cameras and cell phone tracking equipment. Buzzfeed has analyzed data from Flightradar24 and identified around 200 federal aircraft. Using the Flightradar24 data Buzzfeed has also mapped some of the flights of the planes as they spy on American cities.

Spies in the Skies explores some of the reasons behind the use of the planes by the FBI and the DHS. It also includes an animated interactive map which plots the flights of the planes between mid-August to the end of December last year. On the map the FBI planes' tracks are marked in red and the DHS plane tracks are shown in blue.

If you zoom-in on the map you can see the distinctive circular flight paths of the planes, presumably as the planes monitor a single location on the ground. If you zoom-out you can get an overall picture of where in the USA the FBI & DHS planes seem to be most active. The DHS seem to be most active around towns and cities near the Mexican and Canadian borders. The FBI planes seem to regularly operate all over the USA.

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