Use of Drones Domestically Could Pose Civil Liberties Issue

Drone, Unmanned AircraftThe use of unmanned aircraft carrying cameras often referred to as “drones” have been in the news regarding their use in places like Afghanistan and Yemen. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would like to set up safeguards to protect American’s privacy should drones be used for routine aerial surveillance in the United States. Since drone technology is becoming less expensive and more advanced the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to propose new rules in 2012 that would allow law enforcement agencies increased access to drones.

The ACLU outlines a set of protections to guard American’s privacy should drones be approved for use domestically in the report Protecting Privacy from Aerial Surveillance: Recommendations for Government Use of Drone Aircraft. From the ACLU’s website: “The report recommends that drones should not be deployed unless there are grounds to believe that they will collect evidence on a specific crime. If a drone will intrude on reasonable privacy expectations, a warrant should be required. The report also calls for restrictions on retaining images of identifiable people, as well as an open process for developing policies on how drones will be used.”

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