You may be thinking to yourself, drone sightings in New Jersey, not a chance. But on the contrary, they are not as uncommon as you might think. In actuality drone aircrafts are used throughout the United States by the FBI for minimal surveillance in difficult cases.
Although the usage of drones may not be lawful in many cases, it is becoming more common. In the last five years alone, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted that close to 10,000 civilian drones will be in use for law enforcement and commercial purposes.
At the moment, the “footprint” for the drones is “very small,” he added also noting that one known public cases, the FBI used surveillance drones round-the-clock this past February to monitor the scene of a kidnapping standoff in Alabama before hostage rescue teams moved in.
“We have very few and [they are] of limited use, and we’re exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein expressed concern in a CNN article, over the usage of drones domestically.
"I think the greatest threat to the privacy of Americans is the drone and the use of the drone,” said the California Democrat, “and the very few regulations that are on it today and the booming industry of commercial drones.
At this current point there is no regulation on the drone usage, but Amie Stepanovich, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, has previously said law enforcement should not be able to use drones as an alternative to police patrols. Stepanovich proposes they should be used for specific operations and that Congress should pass a law requiring legal permission.
Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, agrees with Stepanovich as he introduced legislation to prevent "unwarranted government intrusion" by drones. This bill proposes that law enforcement officers be prohibited from using drones to gather surveillance or collect evidence without a warrant, unless there is an imminent danger to life or a high risk of a terrorist attack.