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Illinois Senate passes bill to outlaw use of drones by cops

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SPRINGFIELD-With almost no debate, the Illinois Senate Thursday passed the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, which would prohibit law enforcement from using unmanned aircrafts to gather information with a few exceptions.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), rolled out of the Senate by a 52-1 vote and now moves to the House.

"I think this is a common-sense regulation," Biss said. "I think the people of Illinois have a reasonable expectation of privacy."

Police could use drones in certain cases such as to counter a terrorist attack, locate a missing person or gather information specifically for crime scenes and traffic crash scene photography. Police would have to demonstrate probable cause and obtain a warrant first and would be required to disclose how many drones they own.

"The technology available to law enforcement agencies is evolving rapidly," Biss said in a prepared statement. "I want Illinois to take a proactive approach -- recognizing that drones can make police work more efficient and keep officers out of harm's way, but also acknowledging the potential threat they pose to individual liberties."

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