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S.F. No. 1430 - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Drone) Used by Law Enforcement Agencies Regulations
 
Author: Senator D. Scott Dibble
 
Prepared By: Chris Turner, Senate Fiscal Analyst (651/296-4350)
 
Date: March 22, 2019



 

 Overview

The bill restricts the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) by law enforcement agencies – generally requiring a search warrant prior to their deployment.  The bill establishes notice and reporting requirements and regulates the use, storage, and disclosure of information gathered by drones.  The bill also creates a civil cause of action for those who are aggrieved by violations of the law.

Section 1, subdivision 1 defines the terms “law enforcement agency” and “unmanned aerial vehicle” or “(UAV)” for the purposes of the bill.

Subdivision 2 requires a search warrant for a law enforcement agency to operate a UAV.

Subdivision 3 authorizes warrantless UAV use in the following circumstances.

Paragraph (a) In life-threatening emergency situations, but – within 48 hours – the law enforcement agency must provide notice to the district court regarding the factual basis for the use.

Paragraph (b) In a public area with a court order finding facts demonstrating reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.

Paragraph (c) To counter a high risk of a terrorist attack supported by credible intelligence, but – within 48 hours – the law enforcement agency must provide notice to a district court regarding the factual basis for the use.  The court filings may be sealed.

Paragraph (d) In a natural or man-made disaster situations, but – within 48 hours – the law enforcement agency must provide notice to a district court regarding the factual basis for the use.

Subdivision 4 establishes certain limits on the use of UAVs.  Requires governing body approval prior to purchasing a UAV.  Requires UAV data collection to be limited to a narrowly defined target.  Prohibits the use of facial recognition or other biometric-matching technology unless expressly authorized by a court.  Restricts UAV surveillance to the target specified in the warrant.  UAVs may not be equipped with weapons.

Subdivision 5 allows a person to consent to the use of UAV surveillance data related to them.

Subdivision 6 restricts the use of collateral data collected during targeted UAV surveillance to situations where the subject consents under subdivision 5.  Requires destruction of the data collected outside the scope of the warrant.  Classifies UAV surveillance data as criminal investigative data.

Subdivision 7 prohibits evidence collected in violation of this section from being admitted in criminal cases.

Subdivision 8 requires notice to be given to a subject of a search warrant for UAV surveillance.  Delayed notice is permitted in limited circumstances.

Subdivision 9 authorizes a civil cause of action for parties aggrieved by a violation of this section.

Subdivision 10 requires law enforcement agencies, through the Commissioner of Public Safety, to annually create a public report to the Legislature on their use of UAVs.  Requires the judiciary to annually create a public report to the Legislature on requests for UAV warrants.

 

 
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