FBI redacts entire drone privacy assessment

Oh, irony, how we love thee. Whenever a new program is initiated in the government, the agency is supposed to conduct a "Privacy Impact Analysis" (PIA), a step that determines what private information is collected and stored by the government and how that data is handled. These reports are generally published online so that everyone can see how personal data is being managed.

The FBI has been researching the use of drones for many years now, and last year Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) was concerned about the program and what data was being collected. Specifically he was worried that the privacy "could be undercut by the Bureau's interpretation of what constitutes a 'reasonable expectation of privacy'" since a PIA was never conducted. This apparently pushed the FBI into action.

According to a series of Freedom of Information Act requests by Muckrock, this analysis was indeed conducted by the FBI, but the agency has redacted every single page of its report, including the cover page. Apparently, releasing any information about the privacy impact on American citizens, including a cover page even mentioning the program, would completely destroy national security and send the country into chaos.

Muckrock has followed up with further FOIA requests, specifically asking for justification on redacting the entire PIA, but we wouldn't be surprised if the response to this updated request is another set of fully redacted documents. After all, it's for our own good.

Source: Muckrock | Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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13 Comments

Yup, he's figured out that privacy is the best way for conservatives to get the new tech generation into the pro-corp anti-fed vote-republican camp, and he's all in.

not trying to defend anybody but there are other reasons why the document was retracted, including outdated false data (according to the article this seems a couple years old already).
the original article reads withholding reasons in case they "reveal classified, sensitive, or otherwise protected information (e.g., potentially damaging to a national interest, law enforcement effort, or competitive business interest)."
They could simply withhold this because they don't want to embarrass themselves.

"would completely destroy national security and send the country into chaos" is taking it too far, exaggerating and hyping rumors.

What's more concerning here is that taxpayer's money is used to conduct the research that then is withheld from the people that it's supposed to protect.

Unless if the violation of privacy is so bad and nothing could be done about it that it would become an enormous threat if other countries spied on the US with drones.

DerAusgewanderte said,

"would completely destroy national security and send the country into chaos" is taking it too far, exaggerating and hyping rumors.

He was mocking them as to what their reason was for redacting the study.. The fed would like nothing more than to limit use of drones to government agencies only.

Drones will be no more intrusive than cell phone vids with people but they would like you to think drones are some evil tool that needs to be heavily regulated.

The only thing needed to keep up on it would be to require registration for flight in air space including a safety/flight course so that there would be no excuse for not knowing the rules of flight. Municipalities could set their own flight corridors for them and elsewhere with a nationwide standard for altitude, airspace and such.

It's pretty strait forward what's needed but the government will drag it out wasting billions, I'm sure, before it's all hashed out..

I think these things are great... I'd love to have one with a 30minute+ fly time and a range of a mile for the controls and camera feed. The biggest issue is sound, if they are close to you they make too loud of a sound so if someone could build a model that is near silent that would be even better...could use it for hunting as in survey an area around a tree stand while you are in it!

Need a large version with large propellers... but made of super light materials. Having larger propellers at lower RPM would go a long way towards making it silent.

You honestly cannot make this ###### up! If it were, absolutely no one would believe it.

The truly disturbing aspect to this situation is that "Once Upon A Time..." a story like this would have been found on The Onion or in some SNL satirical parody about how insane govt. has become.

But the thought of this preposterous event actually happening no longer holds ANY humor value what-so-ever, & it's best likened to being a dead canary in a toxic mine shaft that leads to the Twilight Zone.

1984 was NOT intended to be an Instruction Manual.

Why don't there throw all copies including the hardisk that was used to store the softcopy into a incinerator. Easier....

I'm surprised the response wasn't the same as what the IRS gave - "There was a computer crash and the hard drive was destroyed. We didn't bother trying to recover the backups and destroyed those too. It doesn't matter that we are required to notify the National Archives of data loss, we're the freakin' IRS, we ARE the law!"

When Obama was elected we got warnings about this sort of thing happening from those so called "nut-job" talk radio conservatives but now this government has proven them right time and time and time and time and time again. I'm not one for wacky ideas and conspiracy theories, but there comes a point when you have to stop ignoring what is smacking you right in the face and decide if you would vote the same way again knowing what you know now. I am personally appalled and how far out of touch government has gotten (both parties) and how people just keep settling for the status quo. People need to stop voting like its American Idol and realize there are consequences.

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