Baltimore spy plane program was invasion of citizens’ privacy, court rules

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

The city of Baltimore’s spy plane program was unconstitutional, violating the Fourth Amendment protection against illegal search, and law enforcement in the city cannot use any of the data it gathered, a court ruled Thursday. The Aerial Investigation Research (or AIR) program, which used airplanes and high-resolution cameras to record what was happening in a 32-square-mile part of the city, was canceled by the city in February.

Local Black activist groups, with support from the ACLU, sued to prevent Baltimore law enforcement from using any of the data it had collected in the time the program was up and running. The city tried to argue the case was moot since the program had been canceled. That didn’t sit well with civil liberties…

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