Bill seeks to ensure privacy as drone use rises

California would take its first steps to protect the public from the increased use of unmanned aircraft under a bill approved by the state Senate.

SB15 would amend state privacy laws to take the new pilotless devices into account.

The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles would make it clear that recording people without their knowledge could not be legally done using an unmanned device.

Those using a drone to collect information when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy could face civil and criminal penalties. The bill also would prohibit mounting weapons on drones.

Law enforcement agencies would have to get search warrants in non-emergency situations before using unmanned aircraft.

The bill passed the Senate 38-1 Tuesday and now goes to the Assembly.