Idaho Supports Fourth Amendment, Enacts Drone Restrictions

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
04/15/2013
       
Idaho Supports Fourth Amendment, Enacts Drone Restrictions

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has signed into law an act limiting the use of drones in surveillance and evidence gathering.

Another state is stepping in and shielding its citizens from constant surveillance by the government or law enforcement.

On April 11, Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed into law the "Preserving Freedom From Unwanted Surveillance Act,” an act reinforcing the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The law amends the Idaho code, placing new restrictions on the use of drones by government or law enforcement, particularly when it comes to the gathering of evidence and surveillance of private property.

Section 3 of the law mandates:

No person, entity or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute, ordinance, regulation or rule, except to the extent authorized in a warrant.

Along those same lines, Section 4 protects private property from the ever-prying eye of government by placing barriers on the buzzing:

No person, entity or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance of any individual, property owned by an individual, farm or agricultural industry without the consent of that individual, property owner, farm or agricultural industry. An owner of facilities located on lands owned by another under a valid easement, permit, license or other right of occupancy is not prohibited by this section from using drones or other unmanned aircraft to aerially inspect such facilities.

Should police try and submit in court evidence illegally obtained by drone, they would find themselves running headlong into Section 5, which directs that, “No information obtained or collected in violation of the provisions of this act may be admissible as evidence in a criminal proceeding in any court of law in the state or in an administrative hearing.”

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