Idaho Restricts Use of Spy Drones by Police

Authorities will need a warrant first

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 12, 2013 1:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Idaho has become the second state to restrict what one lawmaker calls "high-tech window peeping" by police or even nosy neighbors. The governor has signed a bill requiring police to get a warrant before using drones in most cases, reports Reuters. The new law also makes it illegal for public agencies—or anyone, for that matter— to conduct surveillance of a property via drone without permission. Only Virginia already has a similar law on the books, though other states are considering them as drones become a more routine police tool.

These aren't the types of behemoths flying around Afghanistan—this variety weighs maybe 50 pounds and has a video camera. Idaho's law is a good start, blogs Ed Krayewski at the libertarian Reason.com. "Of course government authorities won’t necessarily seek a warrant just because they’re required to," he adds, "and these types of legislation tend to leave a big loophole in the form of an 'imminent danger' exception." (The IRS knows something about lax warrant rules when it comes to privacy concerns.)

This undated photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department shows a deputy getting ready to use a small drone equipped with a camera.
This undated photo provided by the Mesa County, Colo., Sheriff's Department shows a deputy getting ready to use a small drone equipped with a camera.   (AP Photo/Mesa County Sheriff's Unmanned Operations Team)
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