For several years, a handful of lawmakers and civil liberties advocates have been talking about the need to regulate law enforcement agencies’ use of drones in Massachusetts.
Now, two state senators have filed separate bills that would, to differing degrees, limit how and when police can use unmanned, remote-controlled aircraft, commonly known as drones.
If you think this is premature, you just haven’t noticed the drones overhead. Hobbyists, photographers, real estate appraisers, surveyors and videographers have been using drones since the technology became available, and now very affordable. A drone was flying over two visiting schooners and taking photos as they cruised into Newburyport harbor two weeks ago. At least one drone was seen hovering overhead at last year’s Schooner Festival in Gloucester, most likely taking photos as well. Drones take photos above high school football games, road races, street festivals, scenic vistas and just about everything you can imagine – and