Taking The High Road On Privacy: Advancement Of Drones Poses Policy Questions (VIDEO)

By Jeff Neumeyer

March 15, 2013 Updated Mar 15, 2013 at 6:10 PM EDT

INDIANA, (www.incnow.tv) --- Privacy concerns are something citizens across the country may begin to worry about more, as drones become more technologically advanced.

We think of drones as unmanned aircraft used for military purposes.

But even less sophisticated models these days can provide aerial surveillance in a way that seems to justify some public debate.

For a few years, Phil's Hobby Shop has sold Quadricopters, which fly with ease with the help of four spinning blades that keep the craft airborne.

They're easily controlled through an "app" on your iPhone.

Hobbyists who operate them will tell you they make for great entertainment.

A new wrinkle –some now have a small camera mounted in the front to take pictures from above.

More sophisticated models can be equipped with high-powered cameras and other high tech tools for use by police.

Lawmakers in 25 states have proposed legislation to regulate them because of privacy concerns.

Paris McFarthing, a co-owner of Phil's Hobby Shop on West Jefferson Boulevard, thinks we're getting ahead of ourselves.

But Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries believes the move towards regulation is a good idea.

" I'm concerned about them, because we have an expectation of privacy at home, all of us do, and that we have to make sure that we're vigilant," Fries said.

" When it comes to laws, we just need to see what kind of effects they have in our community first, and then really consciously think about what do we need to do to keep people safe," said McFarthing, who fears a rush to judgment will prove a mistake.

Sheriff Fries could see using a drone to look in and identify the whereabouts of a barricaded suspect inside a building, for instance, as a way to help stop a dangerous threat to the public or other officers.

But he says right now, his department is not using them for any reason.

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