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WASHINGTON – The first bipartisan legislation to regulate the government use of unmanned drones in the United States was introduced in the House yesterday. The American Civil Liberties Union supports the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.
"Unmanned drones must not become a perpetual presence in our lives, hovering over us, following us and recording our every move," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the ACLU. "Strict rules should govern the use of drones by the government. By requiring that law enforcement secure judicial approval before using drones, this legislation achieves the right balance for the use of these eyes in the sky."
Under the proposed legislation, drone use by law enforcement would be focused exclusively on criminal wrongdoing and subject to judicial approval, in most cases a search warrant. All government agencies would have to register all drones and the results of criminal investigation involving the technology must be reported to Congress. The arming of drones would be flatly prohibited.