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Bill Would Put Privacy Limits on NJ Drones [AUDIO]

A group of New Jersey lawmakers, concerned about the impact drones could have on privacy rights, are proposing a privacy protection bill that would place limits on the use of drones by police and fire departments. 

Sean Gallup, Getty Images

“Under the bill, if fire is using drones to track a fire the usage of that is for that purpose only,” said Assemblyman Dan Benson,  D-Hamilton Square. “Same thing with police if they’re looking for someone who is missing or abducted (and) any information is wiped after 14 days.”

Under the legislation, a law enforcement agency is barred from utilizing a drone unless the chief law enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that the record or other information that may be derived from an unmanned aerial vehicle is relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.

“Protecting personal privacy in this age of ever-expanding technology is important, but so is protecting the ability of law enforcement and emergency services to use technology that can be helpful in time of need,” said bill co-sponsor, Speaker-elect Vinnie Prieto, D-Secaucus. “This bill strikes the right balance.”

The bill requires each law enforcement agency or fire department that utilizes a drone to keep maintenance records for each unmanned aerial system, a record of the two most recent calendar years of fuel purchases for each unmanned aerial system, and any other documentation pertinent to the unmanned aerial system that may be otherwise required by the Office of the Attorney General.

The measure has passed Homeland Security Committees in both the state Senate and Assembly.

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