'The prospect of constant government surveillance of citizens through cheap drones tests the “plain sight” doctrine by which, under our Constitution, police are generally allowed to scope out whatever is in plain view, without requiring a warrant. Supercharged technologies face some limits — extra-sensitive remote microphones, or heat signature detectors of the sort that might be pointed at the wall of a home to detect marijuana-growing lamps in use inside. A technology can be limited to what's already in general use by the public, no more, no less — so what civilians do in turn can affect what the state can do. That means that if civilian drones become common, it'll be difficult to argue, philosophically and constitutionally, that the government can't use them too, and not just for law enforcement.'
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