Idaho Bans Government Spy Drones

Legislation pending in 31 other states

Steve Watson

Idaho has become the second state in the US to ban warrantless spy drones being used by police or government, in an effort to protect privacy.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed legislation into law Thursday that restricts the use of unmanned vehicles by public agencies, and mandates that warrants must be obtained in order to collect evidence using the technology.

“We’re trying to prevent high-tech window-peeping,” Idaho Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, sponsor of the measure in the Republican-led Idaho legislature, told Reuters earlier this year.

The bill was passed by both the Idaho House and Senate last week, and it strictly prohibits the use of drones to spy on anyone in the state, or to conduct surveillance of their private property, without the person’s express written consent.

In February, Virginia became the first state in the US to pass such legislation, as the state General Assembly approved a two year moratorium on drone aircraft, sending the legislation to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.

Since that time, McDonnell, who has previously applauded the use of drones has sought to weaken the legislation to allow certain parties to use drones.

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