California law enforcement agencies would have to obtain warrants before using aerial surveillance drones under a bill now in the state legislature.
The federal government will allow the civilian use of aerial drones beginning next year.
Chris Conley with the Northern California ACLU says guidelines must be in place to protect against abuse of the new technology.
“I think it’s very important that we have the external oversight that a warrant provides,” says Conley. “It would help make sure that drones are used appropriately to help keep the community safe, and not in ways that could invade individual rights.”
Aaron Maguire with the California State Sheriffs’ Association says once people step into a public place, the expectation of total privacy is unrealistic.
“We don’t think you should have to go through a court process in order to deploy one of these things when it’s the same technology that’s on someone’s cellphone.”
The bill has cleared the Assembly. It’s now awaiting a vote of the full Senate.
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