States wrestle with developing, restricting drones

Author: Amy Volk | Posted: 3/11/2014

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) — Law enforcement, government agencies and others are itching to use drones for everything from finding lost hikers to tracking shifting wildfires. But privacy watchdogs are urging state legislatures to step in and head off any potential privacy violations.

That tension is on display as more than 35 states consider drone legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bills include ways to attract an industry that could generate billions and restrictions on drone use and data collection.

"It's in its nascent form now, but it's growing and will be growing in the future," Steve Erickson, who leads a privacy watchdog group called Citizens Education Project, told Utah lawmakers recently.

The proposed legislation comes as states are awaiting clear federal guidance on drones. Many states have taken additional steps to lure the unmanned aircraft industry, such as trying to become a federal testing site, with hopes it will be a financial boon.

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Source: Big Story AP