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States scramble with legislation to fend off drones

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

States are responding to the rising concerns over drone use by police agencies and at least 11 have brought forth bills limiting the use of the technology, according to various media.

Police are eyeing drones as a sure-fire crime-stopper, but civil rights groups are lashing back, characterizing the technology — which has become smaller and more affordable — as a blatant privacy infringement. Concerns have ratcheted in recent weeks as the Federal Aviation Administration started issuing standards for agencies outside the military to use drones.

Tuesday, Virginia's General Assembly passed a two-year moratorium on police and government use of drones, Fox News reported. That followed Monday's passage of a resolution by a local government body in Charlottesville doing the same.

"Our founders had no conception of things that would fly over them at night and peer into their backyards and send signals back to a home base," said Sen. Donald McEachin, a Democrat sponsor of Virginia's statewide bill, according to Fox News.

Democrats and Republicans in Montana have joined forces to bring forth legislation limiting the use of drones by police to warrant searches, Fox News reports. And other states considering similar legislation include Maine, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Florida, Oregon and California, according to Fox News.

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