Maine lawmakers could take first step to regulate drones

March 10th, 2013 by admin Leave a reply »

March 7

Maine lawmakers may delay drone regulations

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A bill that would regulate the use of drones in Maine could go to a study group, a destination that privacy advocates say could delay action on rules that are already outpaced by technology.

(FILE) Christopher Taylor, president and drone designer for Viking Unmanned Aerial Systems of Limington, talks about his company’s FR-Xtreme model that is on table Tuesday February 26, 2013 at the State House in Augusta. The company’s website calls it a “Vertical Take-Off and Landing Commercial Quad Copter built to serve multiple industries. ”

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, is part of a nationwide effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to raise concerns about unchecked snooping by unmanned aerial vehicles.

The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee tabled the bill Thursday after Attorney General Janet Mills testified that the legislation would be too broad and could prohibit the use of drones for news gathering, mapping, weather monitoring or private investigations.

Mills said she shares concerns that unfettered use of drones could lead to unwanted surveillance on citizens or misuse by law enforcement, but the current proposal would be difficult to defend in court.

She said she was concerned that the bill would prevent the Department of Public Safety from using drones in search-and-rescue operations.

Mills recommended that lawmakers study the proposal further by sending it to

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