Following a number of FOIA requests, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) now has a list of the towns, counties, states and agencies with permission to fly drones. Presented by Forbes' Kashmir Hill, it's a pretty diverse list of groups that includes organizations you might expect (the Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, DARPA) and some you might not (Cornell University?).
While Hill explains that drones are often used for research purposes, a lot of people assume they're a tool of law enforcement and may be wary of them flying overhead. Even though an unmanned plane sounds like a scary concept, they're actually pretty common, even being used by non-government organizations as a tool for journalists and activists. But lately, we've been hearing nothing but scary stuff about drones from strikes to crashes, which does little to allay fears of them overhead in U.S. airspace.
Check out the map below to see who has the right to fly a drone near you. The color-coded system that indicates which "Certificates of Authorizations" are active, which have expired and which are, to use an Uncle Sam term, "Disapproved."
You might be surprised by who's flying by your neighborhood.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.