A Justice Department working group will explore whether new policies are needed to govern the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies following a recommendation by the department’s inspector general.
In a newly released report, the inspector general found that four DOJ components — the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — have used or tested UASs, although only the FBI has put them to work on actual missions. Because of privacy concerns, the inspector general urged DOJ officials to consider whether a department-wide policy is needed for deployment of unmanned systems.
In response, the department last month decided to convene the working group to address any issues related to the use of UAS for surveillance purposes, according to a DOJ memo attached to the inspector general’s report. Justice officials will let the IG know once they reach a conclusion, according to the memo from Senior Counsel Trisha Anderson.