Surveillance drones are a mixed bag. On one hand, they’re represent a major advancement for law enforcement functions such as looking for missing people or apprehending fleeing suspects. On the other hand, many are worried about the potential for the abuse of drones by the government and violations of privacy.
State Rep. Rick Becker (R – District 7) was concerned about the use of drones, and had heard concerns from constituents as well, and is developing legislation for the upcoming session that would limit the use of drones in North Dakota.
Becker says his focus is on finding away to allow law enforcement to use this new tool while also ensuring it isn’t abused. He said he hasn’t yet spoken to law enforcement leaders about the issue, but plans to include their insight.
What he aims to do is limit the use of drones to surveillance only, meaning no weapons, and to require a warrant from the courts when the drones are used as a part of a criminal investigation. Becker envisions a situation where no evidence gathered from the use of a surveillance drone without a warrant could be admissible in court.
Becker would like to see drones available for use without a warrant in situations such as a missing person or a fleeing criminal suspect.