Police Groups Urge Limit on Drones; Public Unease on Privacy Issues Spurs Call for Usage Restrictions
Byline: Ben Wolfgang, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Faced with a skeptical public uneasy about the potential impact of drones on personal privacy, three leading law enforcement groups on Friday endorsed industry-backed guidelines limiting the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
ItAEs the latest move in the drone sectorAEs ongoing fight against the popular concern that the aircraft represent a new sort of Big Brother, capable of looking through windows and flying undetected above American neighborhoods. Police and other law enforcement agencies, already using UAVs on a limited basis, are pushing back hard against that perception.
The Airborne Law Enforcement Association, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association and the FBI National Academy Associates on Friday joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police in supporting new rules designed to keep police and other agencies from abusing the new powers and capabilities that come with drones, which are now used only by government entities, but they will be available for personal and commercial use beginning in 2015.
The guidelines call for law enforcement personnel to secure a search warrant prior to conducting the flight if a drone could possibly infringe upon reasonable expectations of privacy. The rules also say that any images collected by an unmanned vehicle will not be kept unless they are evidence of a crime or part of an ongoing investigation.
Unless the photos or videos obtained by UAVs are exempted by law, they should be available for public inspection, the policy states.
The drone sectorAEs leading trade group, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), has come out in favor of such privacy protections. …