Drones have become an ambitious new frontier, finding applications in the private and public sectors. But Florida lawmakers are still trying to stay ahead of curve by limiting the use of the flying technology.

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The Florida Supreme Court Monday wrestled with the implications new technology has for Floridians’ privacy. At issue is whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy when using mobile devices.

In 2007 Shawn Tracy was arrested for cocaine possession in Broward County after police tracked him using his cell phone data. Police did have a warrant for what’s called “historical data,” including numbers dialed and previous locations of Tracy’s phone, but public defender Tatjana Ostapoff argued following Tracy in real time violated Tracy’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Drone-Limiting Bill Flys Onward In Fla. Senate

Mar 19, 2013

A bill limiting how police can use unmanned aircraft, or drones, passed its fourth committee stop unanimously on Tuesday. Senate sponsor Joe Negron (R-Palm City) said, with many Florida police departments already purchasing drones, it’s time to protect the privacy of law-abiding citizens.

“We know we’re on the cusp of drones becoming used in widespread circumstances, so I think it’s a good place to put some ground rules to say, ‘Here’s when you can use them and here’s when you can’t use them,’” Negron said.