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House-approved NDAA would restrict use of drone info

Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA)

An amendment added to the sprawling FY13 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) passed by the House or Representatives on May 18 has a provision that would prevent the use of information collected by government drones in court without a warrant.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA), would specifically prohibit information collected by Department of Defense drones without a warrant from being used as evidence in court. The Federal Aviation Administration is currently developing rules governing the operation of drones in U.S. national airspace.

Privacy and digital rights groups, like the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the American Civil Liberties Union have pressed for restrictions on the aircraft as they gain wider use over the U.S. EPIC, who said it was joined by over 100 organizations, experts, and members of the public, petitioned the FAA requesting a public rulemaking on the privacy impact of drone use in US airspace. The petition is still pending with the agency, however.

Landry – a former sheriff’s deputy and military police officer –  added amendments to the NDAA prohibiting the use of information by the Department of Defense to be used as evidence in a court of law without first having a warrant issued. It also clarifies the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to prevent the denial of habeas corpus or any Constitutional rights for persons detained in the U.S. under the AUMF who are entitled to such rights, he said.

The NDAA was approved by the House on May 18 and now moves to the Senate for review.

“After months of hard work, Senate testimony, legislation writing, and vote whipping – I am proud to report the new NDAA allows us to fight and win the War on Terror  without compromising American civil liberties,” said Landry. “As a Constitutional conservative – I am comforted my colleagues, in a bipartisan manner, joined me in passing this legislation. I hope the Senate will follow our lead in protecting our Constitutional rights.”