Privacy advocates, however, say drones have the potential for abuse. Drones can use infrared vision to see through walls, tap into WiFi connections to monitor Internet activity and intercept phone calls, said Trevor Timm, policy analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Legislation being proposed in states can exempt uses of these vehicles for searches and nonsurveillance functions, Timm said.
“By the end of the decade, there could be one in every town,” Timm said. “It is important to get the laws on the books before they start flying, because once police have this power, they won’t give it up. If we get these laws on the books immediatly, we will have a chance to protect people’s privacy.”