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Dutch question police use of drones

  |   March 18, 2013 at 9:52 AM
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, March 18 (UPI) -- Dutch lawmakers and lawyers say they are questioning the increasing use of unmanned aircraft by police to track criminals and locate marijuana plantations.

The drones have been used for at least 132 days in at least 40 areas since 2009, DutchNews.nl reported Monday.

The city of Harlingen borrowed two drones from the defense ministry in 2012 after a rash of burglaries.

"I understand they can be useful, but they need to have a basis in law," said parliamentarian Gerard Schouw after asking the defense ministry to explain the implications the drones may have on privacy.

"How closely can innocent citizens be filmed," he queried. "No one has a clue what they are filming."

Use of the drones is illegal under Dutch law and may violate European privacy laws, said attorney Vincent Bohre of the Privacy First Foundation.

Amsterdam city officials said earlier this year they had grounded their two drones because of technical problems.

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