Pharos-Tribune

Editorials

February 14, 2014

THEIR VIEW: Drones raising more issues of privacy

Technology races ahead of our laws, principles and ethics. Two of the latest examples, both involving drone aircraft, are causing stirs in the Indiana General Assembly and in journalism circles.

As we wrote last week, Rep. Eric Koch, R-Bedford, is the author of a bill designed to protect Hoosiers’ privacy in the wake of new technology.

To review, the bill requires police to obtain a search warrant before using a phone to track a person’s location or using an unmanned device — such as a drone — to gather information in most situations. It also requires law enforcement officers to get a warrant before they can demand that a person turn over his or her password for a computer, phone or other electronic device.

“I tried to pick on as many different areas as I could,” while avoiding “unintended consequences,” Koch told The Associated Press.

Koch’s bill has received support on both sides of the political divide.

Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington, said, “Technology is moving at such a rapid rate and there’s such an ability now with more and more ease each day to essentially collect small bits of information about our daily activities and put them in a giant database.”

That ability concerns a lot of people, including us. The state and the nation need to have long conversations about the proper uses of such technology. That’s why we’re pleased to see that Koch’s bill has passed the House and moved to the Senate, where the discussion can continue.

This week, we learned of another disturbing use of technology.

The Federal Aviation Administration has started an investigation of a drone that was used by an on-call employee for a Connecticut television station. The drone, equipped with a video camera, was hovering over the wreckage of a fatal car crash.

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