March 23, 2013
An unusual bipartisan revolt has erupted against law enforcement plans to fly more drones equipped with high-tech gear that can be used to conduct surveillance of Americans.
A combination of concerns about privacy , air traffic safety, facial recognition, cell phone tracking — and even the possibility that in the future drones could be armed — have suddenly placed police on the defensive.
A public outcry in Seattle last month prompted  the mayor to ground the police department’s nascent drone program. Oregon held a hearing  this week on curbing drones, following one in Idaho  last week. And on Tuesday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced  a federal bill that would require law enforcement to obtain warrants before conducting drone-based aerial surveillance.
Benjamin Miller, who runs the drone program for the sheriff’s office in Mesa County, Ariz., and represents the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, encountered a less-than-welcoming Senate Judiciary committee during a hearing on Wednesday.