Legislation now working its way through Springfield would require police to get a warrant, with some exceptions, before using drones to spy on citizens. The bill passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Law Wednesday by a 7-2 vote.
Advancing technology is making it much easier to track people with drones. In the past, police could use airplanes or helicopters, but that was very expensive - and not very stealthy. Relatively cheap drones will make it much easier.
But the legislation won't deal with private abuse of drones. What if, for example, some foreign government decides to fly drones to spy on the Caterpillar manufacturing facilities in Peoria and pick up some trade secrets?
To address that, a different piece of legislation is in the bin to create a study group to examine the issue of privacy and private drones. The group would report back by the end of the year, and legislation would be introduced next January.
Read a Sun-Times editorial on drones here.
Read a Feb. 13 Sun-Times news story on drones here.
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