MN Legislation Aims to Curb Drone Use by Police

By KBJR News 1

February 15, 2013 Updated Feb 15, 2013 at 6:40 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A Minnesota lawmaker wants to curb the potential use of drones for police work across the state.

It's closer to becoming reality than you might think.

The bill proposed by Senator Sean Nienow (R-Cambridge) sets proper perimeters for authorities flying unmanned aircraft.

The Obama administration is calling for drone technology to be allowed in national air space by 2015.

They've already been used to spy on and attack targets by the US Military overseas and to patrol our borders to the north and south.

Sen. Neinow said with the potential for 10,000 drones in use in the next five years, his legislation is the first step in outlining limitations to keep police from using drones for surveillance.

"I don't want the county sheriff simply flying them over residential neighborhoods peering into the backyards what's going on because maybe something is going on that shouldn't be," the Senator said in a Skype interview. "What we do want is to have them around for legitimate purposes, when there imminent threat or danger, when there is a crime in progress, if Homeland Security declares threat of attack, those kind of things."

Virginia has become the first state to place restrictions on drones with the Florida Senate moving legislation that would place a ban on the technology.

Many other states are considering similar restrictions.

Sen. Nienow said he's gotten the green light from a number of privacy advocates and some of his colleagues in the legislature.

The Senator said he has yet to receive any reaction from law enforcement agencies.

Kevin Jacobsen
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