Kenney moves to regulate drone use in Philadelphia

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A Philadelphia councilman wants to stop drones from unauthorized spying — or worse — and is introducing legislation to penalize some uses of the technology. 

 

As drones become ever easier to acquire, Councilman Jim Kenney said he wants to regulate civilian and government use of the small, radio-controlled aircraft.

He said Wednesday his aim is not the military style drones, but “smaller items that are electronically controlled with a propeller on the top like a helicopter or airplane.

“These are things that at some point could be in the hands of people who are hobbyists and, possibly, those who are knuckleheads and want to disrupt things,” Kenney said.

The councilman said he was approached by members of the city police department so police use of drones could be authorized and regulated.

“The police would have to get warrants for the use of these to surveil in nontraditional ways,” Kenney said. “If you want to scale an apartment building to see if someone is dealing drugs or doing something in that apartment building, you would have to get a warrant similar to if you want to go into a house.”

The issue will be discussed at an upcoming hearing.

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