MPAC Releases Domestic Drones Policy Paper

September 8, 2014

MPAC published and released the latest of its policy papers today called "Domestic Drones: Implications for Privacy and Due Process in the United States." The paper analyzes and discusses the concern that the recent proliferation of drones could have negative consequences on civil liberties. While numerous Supreme Court decisions have dealt with broader issues privacy, probable cause, and warrants, the Court has not ruled on domestic drone use. The paper argues drones must be carefully regulated.

“We are branching out into new territory with domestic drones,” says Haris Tarin, Director of MPAC’s DC office. “States need to be sure they are not caught off guard with the legal implications and that the privacy and rights of our citizens are protected as this new technology becomes widely used.”

The paper analyzes proposed and current state done regulation and recommends that legislatures allow drone use, while ensuring they are subject to the same restrictions as other investigative tools.

The principal investigator and author of the paper, MPAC Research Fellow Sadia Ahsanuddin, conducted in-depth policy and legal research, interviewing dozens of privacy, technology, and law enforcement experts. Her research found that states are not keeping up with this emerging technology.

Ahsanuddin highlights the future prevalence of drones, saying, "Drones present a massive potential for change in numerous fields, ranging from agriculture to business and media. Already, we have Google and Amazon testing drone deliveries outside the United States and we may well see pizza deliveries via drones ten years from now."

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