FBI admits drones are used for spying in U.S. - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

FBI admits drones are used for spying in U.S.

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We've known the FBI has been using drones to secure the border for years. But this is the first time we've discovered that they actually use them to snoop here in the U.S.

In Washington on Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller admits something many privacy advocates have feared. He admitted they use drones for surveillance here in the states.

Mueller does say they rarely use them and when they do it's in a "minimal way" -- which professor and political analyst Ron Sievert says is legal as long as the drones are using a commonly available camera over navigable airspace.

"Where you do probably need a warrant is if that drone or that helicopter or that airplane was to have some type of technology in it like some type of super-duper camera that can take pictures of the dimples of a golf ball. Or something like a super microphone that could record. Or if you had a situation where they used infra-red surveillance," Sievert said.

DJI Innovations is a company in Austin that makes Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for film and TV photographers to get some pretty out of this world aerial shots.

Nicolia Wiles says 'don't worry'...it's not a drone.

"Drones are more of that militaristic style that everybody sees on TV hears about and has realistic fears of. Those are capable of fully autonomous flight. They're also capable of...flying [and] the pilot can be hundreds of miles away," Wiles said.

Wiles says for their models...commercial UAV's...users have to be able to see them to control them.

Wiles says they have worked with Texas legislators to make it illegal for people to use their products to spy on people.

Besides, the loud, buzzing propellers and bright LED lights make it difficult to be stealthy anyway.

"You're going to see it coming. And you're going to hear it coming. So very difficult to actually use this for nefarious purposes of intending to spy on someone," Wiles said.

We asked FOX 7 viewers on Facebook if it bothers them knowing the feds actually use drones to spy on us.

Gayle writes: "Here lately, everything the government does is an invasion of privacy or trying to take away our rights as American citizens. So yes I think drones are just another way of snooping on law abiding citizens.

Camille writes: "Nope, I don't have anything to hide. I have 3 kids. My privacy was taken from me 19 years ago when my first child was born. LOL"

Wednesday, the FBI director said they're developing guidelines for drones and that the privacy implications of them are 'worthy of debate and legislation down the road.'

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