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Rand Paul Launches a Preemptive Strike Against Domestic Drone Use

Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic [1]
June 13, 2012

Senator Rand PaulĀ announced [2] today that he has introduced legislation that would protect Americans against drones used by law enforcement. “Like other tools used to collect information in law enforcement, in order to use drones a warrant needs to be issued. Americans going about their everyday lives should not be treated like criminals or terrorists and have their rights infringed upon by military tactics,” he said in a press release posted to his website.

Of course, legislation shouldn’t be needed to force police to comply with the Fourth Amendment when using drones. But evenĀ local law enforcement [3] is starting to use the unmanned planes, so it’s better for Congress to preemptively rein them in than to wait for abuses and lawsuits.

The legislation, dubbed the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2011, “prohibits the use of drones by the government except when a warrant is issued for its use in accordance with the requirements of the Fourth Amendment,” it allows anyone “to sue the government for violating this Act,” it specifies that evidence obtained from drones without a warrant cannot be used as evidence, and it includes the following exceptions when warrants for drones aren’t required:

1) patrol of national borders; 2) when law enforcement possesses reasonable suspicion that under particular circumstances, swift drone action is necessary to prevent “imminent danger to life;” 3) high risk of a terrorist attack.

Full article here [1]