by Michael Lowrey
The Associated Press reports that the General Assembly has passed legislation limiting police use of drones through June 2015. The idea is to give the state more time to study the implication of drones and develop a policy for their use. Good. Drones are a potentially useful technology — but a technology that can could also easily demolish traditional concepts of civil liberties without strong safeguards in place. As Sarah Preston, policy director of the ACLU of North Carolina, put it to the AP:
I think the big concern about drones is they’re fairly cheap, they’re quiet and they’re small. So if law enforcement has access to drones, there’s no telling what they could do, what kind of surveillance they could use the drones for. What we’re trying to do is make sure that these drones aren’t being used to surveil innocent people without the use of a warrant.