ACLU of Maine Calls for Limits on Drone Surveillance

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
February 25, 2013 3:17 pm

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Judiciary Committee To Hear Testimony on Bill Requiring a Warrant in Most Cases

February 25, 2013

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AUGUSTA – The ACLU of Maine and other privacy advocates will testify tomorrow in favor of a bill to put reasonable limits on law enforcement use of drones for surveillance. “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use,” sponsored by Sen. John Patrick (D-Rumford), would require a warrant in most cases before police could use the unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance.

A Freedom of Information Act request last year revealed a growing list of police departments gaining permission to fly drones. The Federal Aviation Administration estimates there could be as many as 10,000 drones in U.S. airspace by 2015.

“Mainers shouldn’t have to fear that unmanned drones would be spying on our homes and our backyards. Unfortunately, cheap technology and a change in the federal rules make the specter of backyard surveillance a real and terrifying possibility,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “The legislature should act this year to put in place reasonable safeguards to protect us from unfettered drone surveillance before it’s too late.”

Bellows will have media availability at the State House on Tuesday. The ACLU of Maine has acquired a drone that will be on hand.

Public hearing on LD 236, “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use”

Tuesday, February 26; 1:30 p.m.

Maine State House Judiciary Committee

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