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The ACLU of Washington has asked the city council to pass a legally binding ordinance detailing “what kind of information can be collected, who can collect it, how the information can be used, and how long it can be kept,” along with “an auditing process to make sure the policies are followed.” The Seattle Times agreed. In an editorial written on May 6, the city’s largest paper urged city council to adopt “usage restrictions, image-retention limits, and regular audits and reviews of drones as a law-enforcement tool.”
Seattle’s Police Department has already pledged drones would not be used for surveillance, and only “for situations like crime scene photography, missing person searches, and barricaded person scenarios.” They’ve also indicated they would work with the FAA to develop privacy policies. But as the Seattle Times noted, privacy safeguards must be implemented by binding ordinance, “not by policy nods, promises and good intentions.”
Seattle’s Police Department has already pledged drones would not be used for surveillance