Drone On Series Part II: Drone Privacy - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Drone On Series Part II: Drone Privacy

LA CRESCENT, Minn. (WXOW) - We conclude our series "Drone On", where we examine the privacy issues of unmanned aircraft.

We told you about some of the possibilities with drones, from helping with search and rescue to police surveillance. But if camera-laden drones are flying in the sky, what does that mean for your privacy?

Privacy issues are a big concern as the nation starts moving toward unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. Under the Fourth Amendment our right to privacy is protected, but if most drones have cameras, those rights could be compromised.

Drones can easily be equipped with high-powered cameras, infrared devices, and laser radar. All of which can capture images of you without you knowing.

Cheryl Gill, attorney at Johns, Flaherty & Collins, said, "There's going to be a period of uncertainty of what violates our privacy and what doesn't and as a society we're going to have to decide how much privacy should we all haveithout you even knowing."

Currently, law enforcement has to get a warrant to use a drone for surveillance purposes, and it's a misdemeanor to use a drone with the intent to photograph or record someone where that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

While the FAA is working to put safety rules in place for these drones, it;s up to the federal and state governments to protect the privacy of their citizens.

In April the state of Wisconsin passed legislation to restrict drone use. They outlawed video-taping in areas where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy, like in there homes. The legislation also requires police to obtain warrants before using drones to collect evidence except in emergency situations, and the legislation makes it a felony to use a weaponized drone.

Wisconsin is one of only four states that have enacted such laws, Minnesota has similar legislation pending.

To watch the first part of our Drone On Series, click here.

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