According to the 9/30/14 issue of The Wall Street Journal, California Governor Jerry Brown recently vetoed a bill that would have required police to obtain warrants before using drones for surveillance.
That article reports that some 20 states have already enacted legislation concering rules for drone use, thirteen of which place restrictions on how police can use the technology.
The California Police Chiefs Association says it is "incongruous" that restrictions on using drones would be placed on police and not on civilians. Hello? Our Constitution has always been OK with the distinction between police intrusion versus non-police intrusion. The argument by police that "if the paparrazi can spy on people...so can we" does not hold water.
Police also argue that the legislation regarding drone use is more restrictive than that which already exists upon the use of manned helicopters and aircraft. Again, Hello? The rules governing police surveillance by manned helicopters and aircraft have existed within the framework of Federal Aviation Regulations (which set minimum distances pilots must keep aircraft from people and man-made constructions).
For film-makers, drones are a great tool to bring the perfect camera angle to a production. Farmers here in the midwest will no-doubt find them useful to monitor crops and cattle. But private citizens, be they Hollywood Stars or regular Joes, must be protected from unwarranted drone surveillance, be it by paparrazi or police. Pass reasonable laws concerning drone use which protect our privacy and safety.