Rich Lowry argues that while unrestricted use of drones is certainly a problem, the solution isn’t to just ban drones — even domestically.
To be fair, though, I’m not sure that there’s a huge disconnect between his arguments and Rand Paul’s arguments to require warrants. Paul goes farther than Lowry, but at the end of the day both argue that drones shouldn’t be used without limits, but should be used to an extent.
Drones will no doubt raise novel issues under the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure. They will require rules. The same is true of any technology, of course. The Supreme Court held unanimously earlier this year that police can’t attach a GPS tracker on someone’s vehicle without a warrant. This isn’t reason to ban all use of GPS trackers by law enforcement. The fear of drones is, in part, the fear of the new — it is Luddism masquerading as civil libertarianism.
Ultimately, it is not the technology that matters, but the use to which it is put. A can of pepper spray is technologically unsophisticated. Yet it can be an instrument of cruelty if wielded arbitrarily by a cop. The drone is potentially a powerful tool. Vigilance is advisable; panic is silly.