Washington (April 7, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, joined Senator Rand Paul this week in introducing an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016 that would protect an individual's right to privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. The bipartisan amendment would prohibit law enforcement from using a drone to surveil or collect evidence pertaining to a violation of a law or regulation without a warrant. While the use of drone aircraft and technology continues to expand in all areas of the government, the amendment will ensure the protection of every American citizen's right to constitutional privacy protections.

“Just as we have rules of the road for manned vehicles, we now need rules of the sky for unmanned ones,” said Senator Markey. “Requiring that law enforcement obtain a warrant before using a drone ensures we reap the economic and educational benefits of drones while ensuring the privacy of Americans is protected. I thank Senator Paul for his partnership on this amendment, and I look forward to fighting to ensure that Americans are guaranteed strong personal privacy protections as these new vehicles take flight.”

“The use of drone surveillance may work on the battlefields overseas, but it isn't well-suited for unrestrained use on the streets in the United States. Congress must be vigilant in providing oversight to the use of this technology and protection for rights of the American people. I will continue the fight to protect and uphold our Fourth Amendment,” said Senator Paul.


Top-line bullet points and background information on the amendment can be found below and the text can be found HERE.


  • Prohibits the use of drones owned or funded by the federal government in an evidence-collection or surveillance capacity unless a warrant authorizing the action has been obtained.
  • Includes the following exceptions:
    • Patrol of national borders;
    • When there is imminent danger to life;
    • High risk of a terrorist attack.
  • Specifies that no evidence obtained or collected in violation of this amendment can be used/admissible as evidence in a criminal, civil, or regulatory action.