On The Radar: Government Unmanned Aerial Vehicles And Their Effect On Public Privacy Interests From Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence And Legislative Policy Perspectives

more+
less-

The utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in military operations and border security is well documented. As the technology becomes more affordable and available, domestic law enforcement agencies, other state and federal governmental agencies, and private enterprises envisage UAV technology in their future operations. As UAVs are generally introduced into domestic airspace, they will test the Fourth Amendment’s protection of citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures. Existing Supreme Court cases relevant to the issue of aerial warrantless searches are not ultimately determinative of UAVs’ constitutionality in this regard. The Supreme Court was split in each of these previous cases, which dealt with manned flight, not unmanned flight. It is possible, however, to roughly evaluate the impact of UAV aerial surveillance on citizen privacy in a contemporary timeframe by extrapolating the Court’s logic into the future. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not allow generalized UAV flight in national airspace, so the issue is not immediately at hand. The FAA, however, is formulating regulations to admit them, so this is a propitious time to consider how to maintain citizens’ rights to privacy free from government infringement through this new technology. The Fourth Amendment most likely will provide only minimal protections. Thus a responsible legislative and administrative solution is required, incorporating accountability and restrictions on visual and sensory enhancing technology without a warrant while providing necessary but clearly drawn statutory exceptions to the warrant requirement. Otherwise, UAV technology may diminish citizens’ reasonable expectations of privacy.

Originally published in 49 Jurimetrics J. 491–518 (2009).

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Snell & Wilmer | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.
×
Loading...
×
×