FBI surveillance program exposed

SEATTLE — The next time you look up, the airplane flying overhead might be the FBI taking your picture or collecting data from your cellphone.

KIRO 7 asked people in downtown Seattle what they think.

"You know, it doesn't really bother me that much," said Cheryl Guthrie, of Bonney Lake. "I don't have anything to hide. And if it's for the better of keeping the country safe."

“If I go online, it's really important for me to not be tracked," said Navjot Kamal, of Seattle.  "I think everybody deserves their own privacy."

The FBI told The Associated Press the flights are a part of individual, ongoing investigations, much like King County's Guardian One that takes to the skies to help officers on the ground.

"There's problems with Guardian One as well," said Jared Friend, technology director for the Washington chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

But Friend says the FBI's program is far more sweeping and is being done without a judge's permission.

"These are ultimately dragnet surveillance programs that collect information about everyone's daily lives," said Friend. "And so that, coupled with the fact that there's no real oversight or transparency, is something that I think should give the American public pause for concern."

It concerns Seattleite Kidest Asfaw.

"Nobody should know my business," she said.

But the question is, could local police agencies do the very same thing here?

The short answer is no.

The state Legislature took care of that in the last session.

But the Washington state Legislature has no jurisdiction over the FBI.