California legislators voted to mandate law enforcement to obtain warrants before sending drones out on surveillance missions, a move aimed at reining in what one lawmaker described as a true threat to individual privacy.
Assemblyman Jeff Gorell said the growing use of drones by police agencies has really pushed the boundaries of “our reasonable expectation of privacy,” and immediate protections for individual rights are necessary, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“[It’s our duty to issue] guidelines for government to use these when they’re monitoring human behavior,” he told the newspaper.
Mr. Gorell’s bill would require government agents to obtain a warrant from a judge to send out surveillance drones — except in cases of environmental emergencies, such as oil or chemical spills, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The bill now heads to the governor for signing. Three other states have also struck down use of drones by state and local government agencies, the Los Angeles Times reported.