John Wiseman


DHS & DOJ aircraft over Los Angeles (Buzzfeed)

What's flying above us?

I'm working to make it easy to find out.

Here's how:

Advisory Circular

My Advisory Circular network of twitter bots post in real-time whenever they detect aircraft flying in circles over cities around the world, including Los Angeles, Baltimore, Portland, Minneapolis, and London. The bots often tweet about news and fire aircraft, and because they use an uncensored source of data they also tweet police, FBI, DHS, DEA, CBP, and military aircraft. They look for circles because it means an aircraft is doing something instead of going somewhere. If you've ever asked “what is that helicopter/plane?” there’s a good chance my bots can answer your question—even if it's an advanced military surveillance plane:

Uncovered secret FBI surveillance fleet

A few years ago I discovered a secret FBI aerial surveillance program, involving more than 100 aircraft registered to front companies. I was one of the first people to post online 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.

Support investigative journalism

I continue to help journalists with stories related to government aerial surveillance. For example, I contributed data that was used in an NBC News investigation into the use of National Guard aircraft for surveillance of protests after George Floyd's death.

“Hey, Siri, what's overhead?”

I created a Siri shortcut that lets you ask what's overhead at any time, 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.

Support My Work

Here is a thread of nice things Cory Doctorow said about my work:

I've always funded this work myself, but my finances took a significant hit last year when I was furloughed for 4 months without pay.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours in development work trying to bring the public this essential information for free. I'd like to continue this work, both supporting existing projects and implementing new ideas.

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 or Venmo, or you can sign up for a recurring donation with PayPal.

Thanks for your help!
John Wiseman

psst... if you're a nerd, coder, and/or planetracker and want some more details, check out this page.

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