As print journalism dies a slow death, victim to the loss of revenue from advertisements and classified listings, online journalists are thriving. Not only are they free from the need to create a physical product, they are also embracing modern tools and resources that help them conduct investigations. BuzzFeed, for example, has essentially trained a computer to search for hidden planes — and it’s enjoying remarkable success. So far, BuzzFeed has found planes operated by US Marshals hunting drug cartels and military contractors tracking African terrorists.
Law enforcement now has a multitude of helpful tools available to track suspects thanks to advances in technology. Officers can use cell phone data, social media activity and even public surveillance cameras and facial recognition to look for persons of interest. And now, as the Associated Press reports, the FBI is even using a small fleet of undercover aircraft to follow suspects and even to gather cell phone data in some cases. The kicker is this: The FBI holds that it does not need a warrant in most of these surveillance cases.
Curious bystanders have noticed low-flying planes around American cities. And now there’s an explanation behind these unusual aircraft flying at unusually low altitudes. The FBI is using these planes to collect information and track the movements of suspects. While the FBI tried to obscure its connection to the planes by creating a fictitious company, the Associated Press has traced at least 50 planes and more than 100 flights in 11 states in a one month period (April 2015) to the FBI and its operations.