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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  1. I should have moved back to Idaho, instead of coming to Montana.

    Our new left wing authoritarian governor would probably veto this, at the urging of the Law Enforcement Community.

    For the children. And the soccer moms.

  2. This is bullshit. It’s already legal for policeman to soar silently thousands of miles in the air and look down on private property with their telescopic vision, right? Why can’t dozens of machines do this everyday?

    You guys are just Luddites.

    1. It’s limiting to make them hire an asshole and give him binoculars.

      Drones don’t get pensions. It’s just too damn easy for them. I want police snooping and fishing to remain as time intensive and costly as possible.

      1. Well said!

  3. Today, drones. Tomorrow, tanks.

  4. So some potato farms won’t get strafed. Big deal. Wake me when a state not populated solely with hicks pulls this off.

    1. Hey jerkhole. You’ve obviously never been to Idaho. So stop acting like an ignorant arse.

      1. I’ve flown over it. (Well, my drone has.)

        1. Your own private drone.

      2. Please report for sarcasm meter recalibration. Thanks, that is all.

        1. Well, to IdahoCates credit, this is tReason, home of everything cosmotarian.

      3. Seriously. Idaho is the best place I’ve ever lived. It’s got a far above average percentage of registered independents/third partiers, and the libertarian presence is pervasive even in overwhelmingly liberal towns like Moscow.

  5. What the hell is going on out there?

    A vast concern troll army, not all of whom are Californicators.

    Fortunately, the clowns in Helena are still sufficiently wary (and rightly so) of armed insurrection to try the sort of gun control bullshit recently pulled off in Colorado, but the law and order crowd managed to completely gut the medical marijuana citizens’ initiative in co-operation with the federal prosecutors and the DEA.

    They just haven’t managed to tilt the balance of power in the State House to the population-center Democrats, yet. But the struggle of the righteous continues.

  6. The Tennessee house and senate just unanimously approved a bill banning drone surveillance for police, but they added the “they can use them for large event for crowd control if needed” which is kinda lame.


    1. they just want to watch the UT games.

      1. Good point. I still don’t understand how they fill a 100,000 plus stadium to watch such a terrible team. The Vols have been embarrassing lately. It doesn’t help that we have to play LSU, Florida and Alabama most years, but still.


        1. I’m no UT fan (though I’m surrounded by them, since my dad and other family members attended that august institution at one time or another), being an evil UF alumnus, but it bothers me that they’ve been so mediocre lately. In hindsight, firing Fulmer may have been a mistake. Certainly was bringing in the Anti-Christ, Lane Kiffin.

          1. We knew things were bad when Vandy finally beat them at home. Some say letting Fulmer go was a mistake and I might agree, but Kiffin was a disaster of epic proportions and bringing in Gomer Pyle as his replacement did not work out well either.

            I would probably take back Fulmer at this point.

            1. I used to make fun of him, but really, he was a heck of a coach. Not his fault that he had to face down Spurrier in his prime.

            2. As a USC student, I think it would be great if you took Lane Kiffin back!

      2. they just want to watch the UT games.

        Just wait until they have a mid-air with the Goodyear blimp.

        1. Terrorists launch multiple drones, which attach to the Goodyear blimp and crash it into the stadium.

  7. Enough with the drones. When are we going to get some articles about pot or gay marriage?

      1. Forget that whole “illegal” and “felony” part.


      You know, 47% of Americans loved the idea of the Ground Zero Mosque, according to Ron Paul’s delegates.

      1. Janeway was the best Trek captain EVER!

  8. this is tReason, home of everything cosmotarian.

    The border is open. You may see yourself out.

    Also, DRINK! (x2)

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