Senators: Police Should Get Warrants to Use Drones in the U.S.



Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wants everyone to know that drones are a threat to privacy.

During a senate hearing Wednesday on the future of the unmanned aerial vehicles in the U.S., Feinstein told a story in which she heard a demonstration outside of her house. When Feinstein peered through the window, she was startled by a drone, flying right in front of her face. Once the remote operator saw her through the drone’s camera, it spun out of control and crashed. “So, I felt a little good about that,” she said.

It was a cautionary tale. According to Feinstein, drones can be extremely intrusive, and the time to pass legislation to protect Americans’ privacy is now, as they will soon be a common sight in U.S. skies. The Federal Aviation Administration has a mandate to integrate civilian drones into the airspace by 2015, but many drones — operated by research centers, law-enforcement agencies, and even hobbyists — are already flying.

“There should be strong binding enforceable privacy policies,” she said. “And that can be done before the technology is upon us.”

Feinstein, who didn’t reveal more about the drone incident (her press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment) is strongly in support of enacting privacy-protecting legislation before drones’ full integration in U.S. airspace.

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