A large police chief association has voted to adopt guidelines for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to Government Security News, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) "adopted unmanned aerial vehicle use guidelines similar to the “code of conduct” for unmanned aerial systems issued by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in July."
The guidelines are an attempt to safely use UAVs and protect citizen privacy while they are being used. The article highlights ways to respect privacy while using UAVs:
Where there are specific and articulable grounds to believe that the (unmanned aircraft) will collect evidence of criminal wrongdoing and if the (unmanned aircraft) will intrude upon reasonable expectations of privacy, the agency will secure a search warrant prior to conducting the flight.
Unless required as evidence of a crime, as part of an on-going investigation, for training, or required by law, images captured by a UAS should not be retained by the agency.
Unless exempt by law, retained images should be open for public inspection.
The article reports that the Federal Aviation Administration is preparing to allow more widespread use of UAVs, starting in 2015.
There are some high-profile critics of the rise of UAV use by law enforcement. PoliceOne reports that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act earlier this year, which would require a warrant for UAV surveillance of citizens.The Electronic Frontier Foundation is attempting to collect information on how the drones are being used.