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Banning drones gaining steam in Florida

10:21 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ever get the feeling that you're being watched?

One Florida Senator wants to put an end to that feeling.

A bill to ban drones is making its way through the Florida Legislature.
Law enforcement has argued drones are a helpful tool in law enforcement, but some people think they only help spy on private citizens.

The only place Paul Vonn wants to see a drone is on his return address.

As a lifelong resident of Drone Street in Jacksonville, he does not think the unmanned aircraft have any place monitoring his home life.

"I don't think they should be able to spy on citizens from the air," he said.

And that's the essence of a new bill working its way through the Florida legislature.

Orange Park Senator Rob Bradley co-sponsored a bill that would ban drones from collecting information about American citizens.

"I think there's a certain creepiness factor that's at play when you have drones in the sky spying on law abiding Floridians," he said.

Eighty-one agencies have the permission to use drones across the United States, but only three Florida police departments have the clearance.

Miami-Dade County, Orange County and Polk County have to follow FAA guidelines to use the unmanned aircraft.

Bradley's bill would prevent the drones from getting any information about Floridians unless law enforcement got a warrant.

"As technology advances we need to be mindful of protecting our constitutional rights," said Bradley.

Opponents of the bill have argued that the drones help monitor large crowds, like concerts or the Super Bowl, and that technology could be used for good or for evil.

Over on Drone Street, Paul Vonn says that's a slippery slope.

"You could say that just about anything," Vonn said.

The bill was voted unanimously out of committee today. Next up, it will be debated on the senate floor.

First Coast News

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