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Court finds Baltimore aerial surveillance unconstitutional

Posted at 1:01 PM, Jun 26, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A divided federal appeals court has ruled that an aerial surveillance program used as a crime-fighting tool by the Baltimore Police Department is unconstitutional. In its ruling Thursday, the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the use of planes equipped with wide-angle high-tech cameras to surveil the city amounted to a warrantless search that violated the Fourth Amendment. The court also said police must stop using data obtained through the now-defunct program. The police department’s use of the aerial surveillance in a pilot program last year prompted an outcry. The six-month program tracked the movements of virtually all Baltimore residents during daylight hours.