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Gov’t Report Questions How Privacy Applies to Drones

SURVEILLANCE—U.S.

September 13, 2012

A report released by the Congressional Research Service last week questions government use of drones for surveillance, The Hill reports. The Federal Aviation Administration anticipates 30,000 commercial and government drones flying U.S. skies within the next 20 years. The Supreme Court has ruled police may gather surveillance by flying planes and helicopters over homes because the areas are in public view. But the researchers say courts could decide drones are more privacy invasive; their ability to hover and remain in the air longer “may sway a court’s determination of whether certain types of warrantless drone surveillance are compatible with the Fourth Amendment,” the report states. Several lawmakers have introduced drone bills.
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