Florida first to fight drone intrusion with newly passed bill

When Republican Gov. Rick Scott signs a bill now on its way to his desk, he will make Florida the first state in the union to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft, commonly referred to as drones.

SB 92 would require law enforcement agencies — including federal — to first obtain a search warrant before employing drones for surveillance. And that means they must first show probable cause.

The bill provides for some exceptions to this rule — “if a person’s life or property is believed to be in imminent danger, or if the Department of Homeland Security has declared a terrorist threat,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The Sentinel continues:

An unmanned drone could also be used by police to stop a suspect from escaping, prevent evidence from being destroyed or search for a missing person. Evidence collected by a drone that does not follow the regulations in the bill would not be admissible in court and citizens who feel they have been wrongfully spied upon could file a civil action lawsuit.

Gov. Scott has already announced his support for the legislation.

“Privacy should be protected and I applaud the House for unanimously passing this bill today,” he said in a statement, adding that “this law will ensure the rights of Florida families are protected from the unwarranted use of drones and other unmanned aircraft.”

Read more at The Orlando Sentinel.

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