January 21, 2020 Feature

Path to Dystopia: Drone-Based Policing and the Fourth Amendment

Michael dePascale Jr.

In 2017, there were 836,796 hobbyist drone users in the United States. (Arthur Holland Michel & Dan Gettinger, Ctr. for the Study of the Drone at Bard Coll., Drone Year in Review: 2017, at 10 (2018).) Hobbyist drone users range from people who fly drones for fun to those who fly them to spy on others. Whether drone operators’ motives are benign or unsavory, the result is the same: members of the general public feel these drones invade their privacy. (See Jennifer Jolly, “Never, Ever Try to Shoot at a Drone.” Neighbors Buzz with Complaints over Pesky Drones, USA Today (Sept. 3, 2018).) Some of these qualms arise from the fact that many drones are equipped with cameras. Drone cameras are high quality, allowing drone users to record pictures and videos from previously inaccessible vantage points.

Premium Content For:
  • Criminal Justice Section
Join - Now