Officials Scramble to Limit Domestic Drone Surveillance

Florida Bill Would Ban Spy Drones for Police

Internationally, the US is increasingly a nation of drones, with the robotic aircraft flying overhead in numerous nations, often carrying out extrajudicial assassinations as a way of imposing the administration’s agenda abroad.

Domestically, the genie isn’t quite out of the bottle yet, but it’s close, and much as human rights activists have warned about the total lack of oversight for the global drone war, privacy activists warn about the lack of regulation for the use of drones domestically, with police openly pushing to add spy drones (and in some cases attack drones) to their everyday arsenals.

Some officials are looking at getting some laws in place before the police start a drone buying spree, with the Florida Senate rushing through a bill that would ban the aircraft outright for most surveillance purposes as well as code enforcement.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) is also looking at some regulations at the federal level, warning that cheap, unmanned aircraft could be a major threat to civil liberties. With drones and Hellfire missiles still being championed as a cure-all internationally, efforts to restrict their use domestically may face an uphill battle, and even the proposed Florida ban was careful to slip in a “terrorism” exemption.

Drones overhead may become reality before the regulations are in place at all in many places, and to that end Popular Science is reporting that fashion companies are working on an array of garments aimed at limiting the effectiveness of drones in tracking individuals.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.