Politics & Government
10:36 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Wisconsin Weighs In on Drones

While the U.S. debates the use of drones for military purposes, a bipartisan group of Wisconsin legislators is proposing rules for civilian and police use here. A committee is gathering public input Wednesday.

Drones are flying vehicles – operated by remote control. Their sizes range from comparable to a large aircraft to that of a backyard model airplane.

The U.S. military equips them with cameras and weapons and uses them to spy on and kill suspected enemies.

Closer to home, law enforcement has expressed an interest in using drones as a new tool for fighting crime, such as, to monitor a suspect's movement.

Tech students in Madison develop drones
Tech students in Madison develop drones
Credit Madison Area Technical College

Hobbyists experiment with them, and at least one UW research team used a drone to study trout streams. Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the local American Civil Liberties Union, says there reportedly is a drone at Volk Field, he assumes, for training.

The ACLU is among the parties lobbying for rules, largely to protect privacy rights. Ahmuty says legislation has been proposed in nearly all states to regulate the use of un-piloted aerial vehicles.

Among the ACLU recommendations:

-- require police to obtain a warrant in order to use a drone to watch someone

-- prohibit people from equipping drones with weapons

-- mandate public notification when a drone will be employed

-- ban civilian drone use over private property