LANSING, Mich. (Nov. 24, 2015) – A bill under consideration in the Michigan House would restrict the use of drones by state and local law enforcement. The legislation would not only establish important privacy protections at the state level, it would also help thwart the federal surveillance state.
Rep. Jim Runestad introduced House Bill 5026 (HB5026) On Oct. 27. The bill would prohibit police from gathering information with a drone without a warrant with only a few exceptions.
The language of the proposed bill stipulates that “a law enforcement agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state shall not disclose or receive information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle,” without either a warrant, written consent of the person under surveillance or under a court order issued by a judge on the basis of reasonable suspicion of criminal activity under certain specific parameters. The proposed law would also allow collection of information by a drone if it “is used in circumstances in which it is reasonable to believe that there is an imminent threat to the life or safety of a person, for the purpose of assisting the person,” under several conditions.
HB 5026 includes a complete ban on the use of drones armed with lethal or non-lethal weapons.
Any information collected in violation of the law would be inadmissible in court.
The legislation also includes specific criteria judges must follow when issuing a warrant, and criminal penalties for violations of the law.