'There's a drone facing me'

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is calling upon the government to regulate unmanned aircraft, citing privacy issues that she said have arisen in her own personal life.

The California Democrat, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said during an appearance on CBS’s "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night that the use of drones should be restricted by the government.

“It's going to have to come through regulation,” Feinstein said. “Perhaps regulation of size and type for private use. Secondly, some certification of the person that's going to operate it. And then some specific regulation on the kinds of uses it can be put to.”

Congress has directed the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a plan for boosting the use of commercial drones in the United States by 2015. The FAA in November released its first “roadmap” for commercial drones.  


But the FAA is proceeding cautiously and 2015 will likely reflect just the beginning of the regulatory process, which will need to answer numerous questions.

“When is a drone picture a benefit to society? When does it become stalking? When does it invade privacy? How close to a home can a drone go?” Feinstein asked.

Feinstein speaks from personal experience, she said. Feinstein said she was recently confronted by a drone operated by demonstrators protesting against government surveillance outside her home.

“I'm in my home and there's a demonstration out front. And I go to peek out the window and there's a drone facing me,” Feinstein said. “Well, whoever was running it turned it around quickly and it crashed.”

“The privacy concerns are very, very major,” Feinstein said.