In February, the ACLU testified before the House and Senate Judiciary committees in support of legislation restricting the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, by law enforcement. Although the technology is not yet used in Rhode Island, increasing interest by law enforcement nationwide indicates drones are on their way.  Currently, state law lacks any privacy protections regarding the use of drones, running a significant risk to Rhode Islanders' privacy in the interim between when drones arrive and when protections can be implemented.  ACLU-drafted legislation would have enacted a number of critical privacy provisions, including requiring a warrant before a drone could be used – except in certain emergency circumstances – requiring a transparent process for obtaining and using drones, banning drones from carrying weapons, and limiting the data that can be obtained and the length of time it can be stored.  The bill did not receive a vote in committee.


Representative Teresa Tanzi





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