"Eyes Over DC" - Department of Defense Launches Surveillance Blimps

On Friday, December 19, 2014, the US army will deploy surveillance blimps just north of the nation's capital. The surveillance blimp system, known as "JLENS," is comprised of two 250' blimps. One blimp contains aerial and ground surveillance technology that covers a 340-mile range, while the other has targeting capability. The JLENS was originally deployed in Iraq. Earlier this year, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to gain more information about the JLENS system. Preliminary documents obtained by EPIC suggested that the blimps would be equipped with video surveillance, though the Army has since claimed that video surveillance will not be deployed. However, documents obtained by EPIC in another FOIA case indicate that Customs and Border Protection is operating surveillance blimps with video surveillance. And the contractor Raytheon has demoed a video surveillance upgrade for the JLENS system. For more information see: EPIC v. Dept. of Army - Surveillance Blimps, EPIC: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, and EPIC Spotlight on Surveillance (2005) - "Unmanned Planes Offer New Opportunities for Clandestine Government Tracking."


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