Donate to support my work
What I do
For many years I've written open source software. Recently I've been focusing on aviation; specifically tracking aircraft and analyzing their behavior. I love making tools that reveal hidden aspects of our world, enhance government transparency and accountability, and empower people to independently explore what's happening above them.
Here are some highlights of my work.
Uncovering a Covert FBI Surveillance Program
I discovered a massive, secret, FBI aerial surveillance program, involving more than 100 aircraft registered to front companies. I was one of the first people to publish information about the program. From a Fusion Media article:
This week, the Associated Press reported that the FBI is regularly flying “spy planes” over American cities. The report, which revealed the front companies the FBI uses to fly the planes, wasn’t a surprise to John Wiseman, a technologist in Los Angeles. Based on public records, he had already figured out some of the planes the FBI was flying and, using a device he programmed to intercept airplane transmissions, had identified over the last month the ones flying overhead in L.A. in real time. Wiseman wrote in a Hacker News comment in May about his findings, revealing a month ago what the AP reported today.
The Senate Judiciary Committee called the FBI in for a confidential briefing about the program after it was discovered–a rare attempt at oversight of the FBI's surveillance powers.
GPSJAM is a free website I created that has daily maps of GPS/GNSS jamming around the world. It is invaluable for pilots, defense analysts, government agencies, and open-source intelligence enthusiasts. GPSJAM not only aids in safe aviation but also brings into relief the often-invisible realm of electronic warfare and international geopolitical tensions. It also documents the growing threat of GPS jamming, which undermines the safety and convenience most people have come to rely on from GPS over the past several decades.
I continue to help journalists with stories related to government aerial surveillance and other topics. For instance, data I provided was instrumental in an NBC News investigation into the use of National Guard aircraft for surveillance of protests after George Floyd's death. I often help reporters with background and technical details on stories about GPS jamming and spoofing.
Advisory Circular Network
My twitter bots, known as the Advisory Circular network, provided real-time updates (until they were banned by Twitter) whenever they detected aircraft flying in circles over cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Portland, Minneapolis, and London. The bots increased public awareness of news and fire aircraft, police, FBI, DHS, DEA, CBP, and military aircraft. The key insight was that an aircraft flies in a circle because it's doing something instead of going somewhere.
I created a free, easy-to-use Siri shortcut that lets you ask your phone or watch “Hey, Siri, what’s overhead?” at any time, any place, and it will tell you what the nearest aircraft is and who it's registered to. It uses the same uncensored data source as the Advisory Circular bots.
Cory Doctorow wrote a very nice twitter thread said about my work. Here are a couple things he said:
https://t.co/3LHYKnDoN1 is a project of @lemonodor, a furloughed Disney Imagineer who became obsessed with mysterious overhead aircraft and decided to monitor them, discovering (among other things) a massive, covert FBI aerial surveillance program.— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) August 20, 2020
A self-funded hobbyist is fighting the entire surveillance-industrial complex...and winning!— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) August 20, 2020
Why I need money & what I'll do with it
The tools and sites that I create are free for everyone to use, but they cost a significant amount of money to develop and run, and they represent an enormous investment of my time.
There is a list of new features I'd like to add to my existing projects, and I have several new projects in the pipeline that are, I think, exciting and perhaps in their strange niche, revolutionary. But it will only happen with your support.
I need your financial support to discover the next government surveillance program, invent the next GPSJAM, or create a totally new thing. I also need your help to keep the existing projects running and free to all.
Ways to donate
If you would like to support this effort and help keep the servers running, please donate below. You can give a one-time donation with PayPal, Venmo, or Bitcoin; or you can sign up for a a recurring donation with PayPal.
Thanks for your help!