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
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)

(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.)