Debate over deputies' drones - FOX 13 News

Debate over deputies' drones

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Plans to restrict the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement are advancing through the Florida House and Senate.

These small remote-controlled planes are equipped with sophisticated cameras. The technology can be used to spot a fire, help find a missing child, or help resolve a hostage crisis. But critics say it could also be used to invade our privacy.

"Who knows where they are what looking for or what they're looking at," said Tampa Bay business owner Janet Dougherty.

If the legislation in Tallahassee, which has cleared through initial committee votes in both chambers, is passed, police could not use a drone to spy on anyone unless they have a search warrant or lives are in danger.

Orange County has already purchased surveillance drones, and many other Florida counties may soon follow.

"We will likely be using this in a space where normal aircraft may not go," said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. This is not about intrusion. We will respect anyone's right to privacy."

Law enforcement can already use helicopters for surveillance. Some say drones should be no different. But helicopters are much easier to notice.

So before this new technology becomes widespread, lawmakers and some voters think we should set some rules.

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