Lawmakers in Lansing are discussing a bill that will place restrictions on unmanned aircraft used by police to gather information.
House Bill 4455 would regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and prohibit the disclosure of information collected by the drones under certain circumstances.
The bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills would require law enforcement to have a warrant or show imminent danger before using a drone.
"Since drone technology is developing so rapidly, we should prepare now for the legal and practical challenges that are quickly approaching us, while allowing the reasonable, very narrow, use of drones by law enforcement to aid in our citizens' protection," McMillin said. "Our citizens should not have to worry about Big Brother looking down on them from above."
Under McMillin's bill, use of a drone by law enforcement would:Require a warrant or the presence of imminent danger to use a drone; Require data gathered in an unauthorized manner to be destroyed immediately and made inadmissible in courts; Prohibit weapons on drones; Place strong reporting requirements on the use of drones and data collected; Institute penalties for unauthorized use and negligent reporting; and Require prior approval of local elected body before drone purchases are allowed.
Shelli Weisberg, legislative director for and American Civil Liberties Union, said she supports regulating the use of drones.
??As guardians of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the ACLU of Michigan shares Rep. McMillin??s concerns over the use of drones in Michigan," Weisberg said "Without a system to regulate the use of this powerful technology we are forced closer to a ??surveillance society,?? in which everyone??s move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by authorities. This legislation is the first step to ensuring that law enforcement cannot sacrifice our fundamental liberties for their convenience.??
The bill was referred to the Commitee on Criminal Justice Thursday.