Lawmakers hear mixed testimony on unmanned drone use

By Hugh McQuaid

HARTFORD – Lawmakers want to create new penalties for crimes committed with unmanned aircraft and establish rules for how police use drones in investigations as part of a far-reaching bill governing drones in Connecticut.

The Judiciary Committee heard public testimony on the bill Monday at the Legislative Office Building. State lawmakers are looking to weigh in on the issue this year as the Federal Aviation Administration is working on establishing regulations for drones flying above 400 feet. Those new regulations could see the small, relatively inexpensive aircraft become much more common.

“With this kind of technology, there’s certainly propensity to do a lot of amazing things but at the same time there’s concerns about privacy. That’s what we’re trying to address,” Rep. James Albis, D-East Haven, said.

The bill would make “use of an unmanned aircraft” a crime. A conviction under the new statute could be as severe as a Class B felony if the drone was weaponized. Lesser degrees of the crime involve stalking, voyeurism, and harassment and would result in a Class C felony.

Read the complete story at CT News Junkie.


One response to “Lawmakers hear mixed testimony on unmanned drone use”

  1. Oldtimer

    This whole discussion is political theater. Any privacy that can be violated by small radio-controlled drones can also be violated by much older technology that nobody ever even talked about regulating and limiting law enforcement access. The only thing these drones offer that is new is the much lower cost of operation than some of the older technologies. Licensing the operators of drones, much as the operators of other aircraft, is probably a good idea, and requiring some registration, with registration numbers on the drone, is just common sense in the event of accidents with injury or property damage. Owners/operators should be accountable, but requiring a warrant for police to use a drone with a camera is ridiculous, in my opinion. The same pictures can be taken now, with the right camera, from other aircraft without a warrant.

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