Media Contact

Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555;

Sara Love, Public Policy Director, 703-963-2710;

March 19, 2013

ANNAPOLIS - On March 19, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will testify to the House Judiciary Committee in support of House Bill 1233, which would prohibit a Maryland law enforcement agency from using a drone to gather evidence without a warrant. Drones can pose a serious threat to privacy.  Because of their potential for pervasive use in ordinary law enforcement operations and capacity for revealing far more than the naked eye, drones implicate the Fourth Amendment.

To date, several law enforcement agencies have acquired drones, including Houston, Texas; Miami-Dade County Police Department, Florida; Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Colorado; Arlington, Texas; North Little Rock, Arkansas; Herrington, Kansas; Gadsden, Alabama; Polk County, Florida. The City of Seattle, Washington received federal funds for two drones, but eventually returned the drones after residents raised concerns over privacy rights. 

State legislatures are starting to take notice.  To date, at least 30 states have introduced legislation regarding drones.

Statement of Sara Love, Public Policy Director of ACLU of Maryland: "Unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the prospect of a significant new avenue for the surveillance of American life. The technology is quickly becoming cheaper and more powerful, interest in deploying drones among police departments is increasing, and our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values."

WHAT: Hearing in support of HB 1233 - Criminal Procedure - Law Enforcement Agencies - Use of Drones

WHO:  Sara Love, Public Policy Director, ACLU of Maryland. Love will be available for media interviews.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 19, 2013; hearing begins at 1 PM. 

WHERE: House Judiciary Committee, House Office Building entrance, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.