What troubles Timm is the lack of transparency around this law enforcement use. Thankfully, EFF, in partnership with MuckRock, has led the charge to shed light on domestic drone use, using Freedom of Information Act requests to conduct a “drone census.” EFF also filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security to learn more about how DHS loans its drones to other law enforcement agencies.
But Timm isn’t entirely pessimistic about the prospects of our drone future. He notes that the issue of domestic drones has inspired civil liberties activism unlike any that he has seen. With increasing mainstream scrutiny of law enforcement—whether it be stop-and-frisk or the excesses of civil asset forfeiture—I suspect that many will continue to keep an eye on police drones.