With increasing concerns over drone use on domestic soil, at least one state lawmaker wants to cut off their patch before they get to Illinois.
The prospect of drones as a crime-fighting tool in Illinois has prompted state senator Daniel Biss to propose tight restrictions on the prying devices, co-sponsoring the Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act (Senate Bill 1587), which he introduced Feb. 13.
"We're heading into a world where technology surveillance is unreal," the Evanston Democrat told the Chicago Tribune.
Biss' newly-proposed legislation would clamp down on the use of drones to spy on civillians by requiring a police search warrant before deploying the devices.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports a drone’s deployment would be limited to 48 hours and both "lethal" and "nonlethal" weapons (think rubber bullets, tear gas and electric shocks) would be banned except in emergencies under Biss' bill. Furthermore, the proposal stipulates that all information the drones gathered would have to be destroyed unless it was to be used in an investigation.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, meanwhile, has been considering the use of drones in crime fighting for some time.
In 2011, Fox Chicago reported Dart had been negotiating with the Department of Homeland Security for federal monies to pay for the devices, which officials say are less pricey and more effective than the "eyes in the sky" helicopters the department -- as well as the Chicago Police Department -- currently relies on.
According to the Illinois arm of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Illinois National Guard and the Champaign County Sheriff have already tested drone technology in the state's airspace.
Progress Illinois notes more than 20 states — including Nebraska, Washington and North Dakota — have proposed legislation to combat unmanned aircraft flying over U.S. airspace.
“Our nation is in the midst of a technological revolution," said Adam Schwartz, senior staff counsel for the ACLU of Illinois. “We must adopt appropriate guidelines now to insure that these technologies do not become overly intrusive.”