Warrants Required Under Kentucky ACLU Supported Drone Regulation Bill

Mar 12, 2014

Credit Author: Dkroetsch, via Wikimedia Commons

A civil liberties group in Kentucky says there are currently no state laws on the books regulating the use of drones by law enforcement groups.

That’s why the Kentucky ACLU is supporting a bill in the General Assembly that would prohibit the police from using drones to collect evidence on an individual without first getting a warrant. 

The group’s Program Director Kate Miller says Kentucky ACLU doesn’t know of any cases where law enforcement groups in the state have violated privacy concerns by using drones that way.

“We know that a number of law enforcement agencies across the country have either borrowed drones from the federal government, or they have requested permission to use drones from the FAA,” she said. “And, in their requests, they outline some of the reasons they want to use a drone. And a lot of those reasons are great, like to help look for missing people.”

Miller said it’s important to note that the legislation does not ban all uses of drones by law enforcement groups.

“There was recently a train derailment in Louisville. If they wanted to take images of that in order to help out with the cleanup, they would be allowed to use a drone for that,” she said. “But if they think I’m a suspicious character and want to check out what I’m doing, they’re going to need a warrant for that.”

Last year, nine states passed laws that set limits on how drones could be used by law enforcement groups.