California Senate approves measure banning warrantless drone surveillance

Camera drone flown by Wilson flies near the scene where two buildings were destroyed in an explosion, in the East Harlem section in New York CityBy AARON MENDELSON SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The California State Senate passed legislation on Tuesday imposing strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones, a move supporters said will protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance. The bill attracted bipartisan support in the Senate, passing 25-8 during the evening vote in Sacramento. The legislation would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned aircraft, or drone, except in emergencies such as a fire or a hostage-taking. Other public agencies would be able to use drones, or contract for their use, to achieve their “core mission,” so long as that mission is not to gather criminal intelligence.

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