Lawmakers mull limits on personal drones

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The unmanned aircraft known as drones are used primarily by the military. But what if a private citizen bought one and used it to spy on you? One lawmaker thinks it's possible and state Senator Jim Tomes (R-Wadesville) thinks it's time for a law that would place limits on drones.

"That you couldn't be videotaping you, your property, or your things without your written permission," he said.  The penalty would be a felony.

Drones are best known for the way they've been used in the Middle East. They sometimes deliver bombs and missiles but most often are used for surveillance. Cameras attached to the drones send images back to technicians, who are sometimes halfway around the world, where recordings are made. Their use is expanding.

"So, I'm talking about something that can hover right over your back yard," said Sen. Tomes.

His main concern is privacy, but Sen. Tomes is also worried about safety.

"And then if you would happen to wake up some morning with one of these things through the roof of your house," he said, "I guarantee you that would be the number one thing in your world."

"They're very safe," said Rep. Clyde Kersey (D-Terre Haute.)  "They're like an airplane and their crash record is pretty good compared to aircraft, so I don't see a problem with that at all."

Rep. Kersey thinks the legislation is misguided, especially when it comes to the private use of drones.

"And I think that's kind of far-fetched," he said. "That's going to be way in the future before that takes place."

In the meantime, the drone bill has been assigned to the Senate rules committee. That's often where bills go to die.
 

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