U.S. Congressman Austin Scott, GA-08, recently authored and introduced H.R. 5925, Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012. This legislation would ensure that the use of domestic drones does not infringe on an American's Fourth Amendment rights. Rep. Scott offered the following comments upon introducing the legislation:
"H.R. 5925 would require the government to obtain a warrant before conducting drone surveillance in the United States. Recognizing that there are situations where the use of drones is both necessary and appropriate, my bill aims to balance privacy concerns and the ability to harness drone technology for legitimate domestic use.
Rep. Scott went on to say, "Drones are an effective and necessary technology for both our military and law enforcement. As drone technology advances, I expect the use of drones will expand as well. However, we must get out in front on this issue so that the use of new drone technology is consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which protects American citizens against unreasonable search and seizure."
• Rep. Scott introduced H.R. 5925 on June 7. Senator Rand Paul, R-KY, introduced the companion legislation, S. 3287 on June 11.
• H.R. 5925 provides exceptions to the prohibition of the use of drones without a warrant in the case of:
- patrol of national borders
- exigent circumstances
- risk of a terrorist attack