Warrant Required, Kansas City Lawmaker Working to Limit Domestic Drone Use

By on January 3, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which are commonly known as drones, have been used by the United States in the Middle East since 2004 and in recent years, the U.S. has begun using domestic drones right here at home.

Domestic drone surveillance over the U.S. is perceptibly a complete violation of citizens’ Fourth Amendment, and the privacy breach is only continuing to grow. As many individuals and liberty activists are become aware of what’s looking down on us from the sky, they are making a stand against it.

In November, voluntary farming activist organization, the Washington State Farming Bureau (WFB) held its 93rd annual session, and focused on farming freedom and disbarring government intervention. Members were able to pass a new course of principle that shuns drone surveillance.

Now, to start off the New Year, a Kansas City lawmaker is making a similar stand, and is planning on restraining drone surveillance use. Representative Casey Guernsey’s proposed legislation, the ‘Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act’, would mandate law enforcement officers to obtain a warrant in order to use drone surveillance for gathering evidence or material on criminal activity.

In addition, the bill would protect people, farms and other agricultural organizations from being spied on by unmanned aerial vehicles used by other people, or state agencies without the target’s compliance. Guernsey has emphasized that he is alarmed over the drones that are already flying over Missouri, and is intending on cutting off the state government from spying on citizens more than it presently does.

Rep. Guernsey explained, “It would be a nightmare scenario for me,” indicating the out-of-control spying that the government currently performs. He went on to describe, “It isn’t far-fetched that we could see government agencies deploy drones to spy on individuals and businesses around the state.”

The bill would also protect citizens from government officials using unlawful information gathered about them in a court of law as well as grant citizens civil lawsuits against officials that have breached them.

Gary Brunk, executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas and Western Missouri, which is strongly supporting Guernsey’s legislation, commented, “As drones become less expensive, our fear is that police and other agencies could use them for fishing expeditions that infringe on an individual’s right to privacy.” He went on to say, “This bill is simply common-sense regulation.”

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