Lawrence residents fear drones could invade privacy

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Dozens of residents in Lawrence fear the city could spy on them using drones.

On Tuesday night, they asked the city to put rules in place to protect their privacy.

While just a few miles away on the University of Kansas campus, drones are literally being built as we speak.

At the city council meeting, the city assured residents when and if they decide to purchase drones, their privacy will be a top priority. 

Over the last year Ben Jones and other Lawrence residents have been worried that unmanned aircrafts will destroy their civil liberties

"You could potentially have drones flying non-stop watching everyone in the city, that's invasive," Jones said.

Right now, the FAA is putting together safety guidelines so that businesses and public entities can fly drones by 2015.

Residents asked the City of Lawrence to put rules in place before drones crowd the local airspace.

"Because the surveillance capabilities are so powerful, it's just important that they don't violate civil liberties are privacy," Jones said.

Engineers at KU said drones aren't just about spying on people.

"They can be used to see what damage might have occurred from a natural disaster. You can use a drone to set up an emergency cell phone system," Mark Ewing, a professor at KU, said.

That's why city leaders say they don't want a policy in place just yet.

The city did say they will work with Jones and other residents to put together a statement that would require officials to put together a drone policy when and if they are purchased.

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