Not if State legislatures have anything to do about it! Across the country, States are carefully crafting laws to limit the use of drones by law enforcement agencies. Apparently, the accompanying image by artist Essam Attia is enough to scare of all those asking, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”? Essam Attia was arrested for replacing ordinary New York sidewalk ads with satirical PSAs about an NYPD drone strike program is in the clear. Animal New York reports that all complaints have been dropped against Essam Attia, but the implications of the powerful image remain.
Generally, State lawmakers have been aligned with the American Civil Liberties Union on limiting the use of drones in law enforcement.
1. USAGE LIMITS: Drones should be deployed by law enforcement only with a warrant, in an emergency, or when there are specific and articulable grounds to believe that the drone will collect evidence relating to a specific criminal act.
2. DATA RETENTION: Images should be retained only when there is reasonable suspicion that they contain evidence of a crime or are relevant to an ongoing investigation or trial.
3. POLICY: Usage policy on domestic drones should be decided by the public’s representatives, not by police departments, and the policies should be clear, written, and open to the public.
4. ABUSE PREVENTION & ACCOUNTABILITY: Use of domestic drones should be subject to open audits and proper oversight to prevent misuse.
5. WEAPONS: Domestic drones should not be equipped with lethal or non-lethal weapons.
So although it doesn’t look like drones will monitor whether or not you come to a complete stop when leaving your neighborhood anytime soon, that doesn’t mean that police won’t be using drones! There is general consensus that drones will be active in search and rescue missions and with the use of a warrant for more substantial criminal activities.