Customs and Border Protection calls this MQ-9 Predator B unmanned aircraft system a “strategic asset.” Customs and Border Protection It’s no secret that various law enforcement agencies ranging from local cops to the FBI to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are using drones in their various missions. But information as to when, where, and how these agencies are using drones remains vastly inconsistent.

A new report (PDF) published Thursday by the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is now recommending that the department consider a “DOJ-wide policy regarding [drone] use in areas and ways that could have significant privacy or other legal implications.” Of course, these baby steps to formulate a policy come seven years after the FBI launched its first drones, or as the government calls them “unmanned aerial systems” (UAS). Right now, federal agencies essentially can make up their own standard operating procedures when it comes to drones and apply their own appropriate privacy policies as they see fit. 6     

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