Utah lawmakers talk drone regulation

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers are discussing drone regulation Tuesday.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, is proposing Senate Bill 16, which would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using drones to get evidence or other information without a search warrant. There are some exceptions, including emergency situations where there’s a credible threat to national security.

The bill includes measures that would protect people who may have been inadvertently targeted, and their information was collected. Stephenson said people are extremely sensitive to how the government is using technology, and this bill would reassure citizens that their information is being protected.

“The world is moving so quickly that we need to ensure that our Fourth Amendment rights on searches and seizures are protected, and that the government isn’t going out and just collecting all kinds of surveillance information on every citizen without probable cause,” Stephenson said.

Utah isn’t alone in wanting to regulate the big business of drones, as 43 other states are also considering similar legislation.

Members of the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Standing Committee all agreed to sign off on the bill Tuesday. It now goes to the Senate floor.

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