Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) popularly known as “drones” have a long history dating back to World War I as remote-controlled aerial targets according to Howeth (1963). However, their current role in surveillance is much shorter. Unmanned aircraft are predominantly used by military in the roles of surveillance and precision strikes. Advancements within the military UAS programs and the signing of FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, has facilitated the necessity to formulate a plan to regulate unmanned aircraft operating over the United States. This study will address the major concern voiced by the public’s concern regarding law enforcement using unmanned aircraft for tracking persons and collecting evidence. What are the current laws governing law enforcement use of unmanned aircraft?
There have been several legal cases involving aerial surveillance, only one using unmanned aircraft, State v. Brossart (2012). This limits the data concerning UAS, but gives a reasonable platform to base the study from. Helicopters or manned aircraft using cameras to conduct surveillance are conducting the same surveillance an unmanned aircraft would, as Molko (2013) address in his research. Detailed debates have occurred around the country concerning the Fourth Amendment and if our privacy will be lost once unmanned aircraft are given the clear to fly in National Airspace System (NAS) over the U.S. A particular public concern is law enforcement utilizing unmanned aircraft for surveillance. According to the National Conference of State Legislation (2013), “In 2013, 43 states introduced 130 bills and resolutions addressing UAS issues”. The FAA has imposed restrictions on the use of unmanned aircraft concerning safety and to co...
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...tatives. February 1, 2012. Accessed May 3, 2014. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-112hrpt381/pdf/CRPT-112hrpt381.pdf.
"FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research." FAA Selects Six Sites for Unmanned Aircraft Research. December 30, 2013. Accessed May 03, 2014. http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=75399.
Howeth, Linwood S. "Howeth: Chapter XL (1963)." Howeth: Chapter XL (1963). 1963. Accessed May 02, 2014. http://earlyradiohistory.us/1963hw40.htm.
Molko, Robert. 2013. The drones are coming! WILL THE FOURTH AMENDMENT STOP
THEIR THREAT TO OUR PRIVACY? Brooklyn Law Review 78, no. 4: 1279-1333.
"State Statutes." 1PGA. Accessed May 03, 2014. http://www.1gpa.org/statutes.php.
"State v. Brossart." July 31, 2012. Accessed May 3, 2014. https://www.nacdl.org/uploadedFiles/files/news_and_the_champion/DDIC/Brossart%20Order.pdf.
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