Illinois now lets cops fly drones over events — but not with weapons or facial recognition

UAV Pilot Training In Ukraine
A Ukrainian drone. Ukraine has been using all manner of weaponized drones to push back Russian troops. | Photo by Andriy Zhyhaylo/Obozrevatel/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images

Cops can’t attach weapons to drones in Illinois, starting today — and they can’t use drones for facial recognition unless they’re attempting to counter a terrorist attack, preventing “imminent harm to life,” or making sure a suspect doesn’t get away.

But they can do something they couldn’t before in Illinois: fly over public events at all.

Today, the state signed the Drones as First Responders Act into law (via Hacker News). The new act modifies another one from 2014 — the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, which has banned law enforcement from using drones to “gather information” in the state (aside from terrorist or imminent harm situations) for the past seven years.

The new bill is designed to prevent shootings like the one at…

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