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California lawmakers pass bill requiring police to obtain a warrant before using drones

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By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) – Strict regulations on how law enforcement and other government agencies can use drones won passage by California lawmakers on Wednesday, a move supporters said would protect privacy and prevent warrantless surveillance.

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The bill, which heads to Democratic Governor Jerry Brown after passing 51-0 in the state Assembly, would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned aircraft, or drone, except in emergencies such as a fire or a hostage-taking.

“Over the next decade drone technology will become much more common in California’s airspace,” said Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the bill’s author.  “There are tremendous benefits that can be realized from these tools, but only if we first pass the legislation that will protect our civil and privacy rights from abuses of the technology.”

Other public agencies would be able to use drones, or contract for their use, to achieve their “core mission,” so long as that mission is not to gather criminal intelligence.

“The potential for abuse of drones is high and we need to be vigilant to ensure our Constitutional rights are protected,” said the bill’s co-author, Democratic Senator Ted Lieu.

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Idaho and Virginia have also passed laws restricting uses of pilotless aircraft because of privacy concerns.

The California law would require that data, video or photos collected from drones be destroyed by public agencies within a year, except in certain cases.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti supported the new regulations but the measure faced opposition from law enforcement groups, including the California Police Chiefs Association and the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

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The legislation “is an inappropriate attempt to impose search and seizure requirements on California law enforcement agencies beyond what is required by the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office said in a statement opposing the bill.

The Federal Aviation Administration currently bans the commercial use of drones in the United States and is under growing pressure to set rules that would permit their broader use.

(Additional reporting by Aaron Mendelson; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Wall Street Journal drops a truth-bomb on Trump over his market-destroying trade war: ‘Everyone loses’

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In yet another blast from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, the editors looked back at Friday's stock market free fall and pointed the finger directly at President Donald Trump and his "trade-war general" Peter Navarro for being the main culprits.

After Friday's disastrous stock market session that took a major downturn due to the escalation of the trade war -- with China and Trump ordering billions of dollars in new tariffs -- the Journal pointed out that there will be no winners.

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G7 off to a rough start as Trump aides slam host Macron’s agenda

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With President Donald Trump at the latest G7 summit, all eyes are on the interactions between him and French President Emmanuel Macron. The two world leaders started off amicably, exchanging pleasantries, but behind the scenes, things have grown contentious.

According to Politico, Trump officials are railing against Macron, accusing him of trying to "fracture" the summit by steering the negotiations away from trade and into areas like climate change.

This development comes after Trump harshly criticized Macron for enacting a tax on digital services, which could increase costs for American tech companies like Google and Facebook. Trump threatened that if France does not suspend its "unfair" digital tax, "we'll be taxing their wine like they've never seen before." It is a threat that Trump has made repeatedly over the last few weeks whenever he has gotten angry at France.

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A likely recession could doom Trump

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President Donald Trump is worried that there will be a recession before the 2020 election. For once, he is right about something.

This article first appeared in Salon.

"The Economy is strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well. Despite this the Fake News Media, together with their Partner, the Democrat Party, are working overtime to convince people that we are in, or will soon be going into, a Recession," Trump tweeted on Friday in a clear attempt to assuage concerns. "They are willing to lose their wealth, or a big part of it, just for the possibility of winning the Election. But it won’t work because I always find a way to win, especially for the people!"

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