Newly Signed Idaho Law Places Restrictions on Police Drone Use

Will require a warrant, at least most of the time


Reason 24/7

In January, reason.com reviewed bipartisan efforts across the country to pass restrictions on the use of drones by government authorities in the United States. Since then, Virginia passed regulations on drone use by police. It's now joined by Idaho.

From Reuters:

Idaho's Republican governor signed a law on Thursday that restricts use of drone aircraft by police and other public agencies as the use of pilotless aircraft inside U.S. borders is increasing. The measure aims to protect privacy rights.

In approving the law, which requires law enforcement to obtain warrants to collect evidence using drones in most cases, Idaho becomes the second U.S. state after Virginia to restrict uses of pilotless aircraft over privacy concerns.

Of course government authorities won't necessarily seek a warrant just because they're required to (as we learned of the IRS earlier this week), and these types of legislation tend to leave a big loophole in the form of an "imminent danger" exception. The legislation won't affect the cool things drones will eventually be able to do, though regulations on those kind of activities are unfortunately likely to be a lot easier to pass than restrictions on police authority. So it goes.

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