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California Drones OK to Fly Without Warrants After Gov Vetoes Bill

Image: California Drones OK to Fly Without Warrants After Gov Vetoes Bill
(Alain Julien/AFP/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 10:17 AM

Police-owned drones in California live to fly another day after Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Bill AB 1327, which would have required law enforcement to obtain warrants before using an unmanned aerial aircraft.

"This bill prohibits law enforcement from using a drone without obtaining a search warrant, except in limited circumstances," the governor said in a statement following the veto.

"There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill's exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution."

According to Ars Technica, 10 states currently require police to obtain a warrant from a court before using a drone for surveillance.

AB 1327 made warrant exceptions for emergencies, such as fire or hostage situations.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, "Public agencies would have been allowed to use drones without a warrant in cases that didn't involve criminal-intelligence gathering and that were central to the agency's mission, but any footage would have to be destroyed within a year."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, said the veto was unfortunate, as it would have "provided common-sense protection to protect privacy rights and civil liberties."

The California Police Chiefs Association said that the bill would have restricted police use of drones, but not civilian use, which it called "incongruous."

This summer, the Federal Aviation Administration opened its sixth and final test site for drones in an effort to understand more clearly what drones can and cannot achieve in various scenarios both public and private, and to guide future discussions on legislation relating to the emerging technology.

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Police-owned drones in California live to fly another day after Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Bill AB 1327, which would have required law enforcement to obtain warrants before using an unmanned aerial aircraft.
california, drones, police, warrant
274
2014-17-30
Tuesday, 30 Sep 2014 10:17 AM
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