States Move To Limit Drone Surveillance

The laws don't touch the feds, of course


On Thursday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed into law the first bill in the nation protecting individuals from unfettered surveillance by unmanned aerial vehicles.

Virginia enacted the very first drones bill nationwide on April 3. Their bill imposes a two-year moratorium on law enforcement drone use, except in emergencies, in order to give the VA legislature time to put in place legal protections for domestic drone use. On Thursday, Idaho put those legal protections in place.

Idaho's new law, which, like Virginia's moratorium, will go into effect on July 1, prohibits law enforcement from using drones to conduct investigations absent a probable cause warrant, ensuring that the police can only use drones to watch Idahoans who are suspected of wrongdoing and can't keep an eye on everyone in the Gem State just in case they do something wrong.