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Florida bans use of drones without warrant signed by judge

April 26, 2013 at 8:57 AM   |   Comments

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., April 26 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a ban on the use of drones by law enforcement agencies without a warrant from a judge.

The legislation, signed Thursday, says camera-carrying surveillance drones can only be used in cases of "imminent danger to life or serious damage to property" or when "credible intelligence" from the federal Department of Homeland Security points to "a high risk of a terrorist attack."

A drone may also be used to stop a suspect from escaping, prevent the destruction of evidence or search for a missing person, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart and Rep. Ritch Workman of Melbourne, both Republicans, was passed unanimously by lawmakers earlier this year, CNN reported.

The law "maintains a balance between the need for law enforcement to protect our citizens against credible threats and imminent danger while ensuring that the privacy of Florida families is protected," Scott said.

"I believe the real need for this is we want our own privacy; we believe in the Fourth Amendment," he said.

The Orange County Sheriff's Office had asked for permission to use its two drones to monitor crowds at large events like football games, the Sentinel reported. The request was denied.

Topics: Rick Scott
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