A proposed bill would require Massachusetts law enforcement officials to get a warrant and show probable cause to use drone surveillance above private or public property.
A number of towns in Massachusetts are already licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones. A handful of police departments have access to them as well.
Technology is outpacing the law, and proponents of the bill said it provides a baseline of rules to protect the privacy of Massachusetts residents and the integrity of criminal cases.
There are some exceptions in the bill that include matters of public safety or emergency.
“There is a difference between certain types of enhanced surveillance at places like the airport and the Boston Marathon. There’s a difference between that and a drone hovering above a residential neighborhood just watching and waiting to see what people are doing,” said Kade Crockford, of the ACLU of Massachusetts.