Judge Napolitano on idea of drones monitoring body temperatures: Sounds like 'science fiction'

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Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano on Thursday explained the technological sophistication of drones that could potentially be used to monitor coronavirus spread.

Napolitano told “Fox & Friends” that using a drone “to watch people” would be considered a “search” under the Fourth Amendment. Napolitano also said that the Supreme Court considers the use of drones a “search” under any circumstance and that those cases were written before drone technology existed.

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“Searches can’t be done without a search warrant,” Napolitano said.

“The police claim that they are just using this to monitor group temperatures -- is the average temperature of the group above 98.6 -- and we’re going to pass that on to health authorities.”

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Napolitano said that the ability of drones to "zero in" on a human being to capture the person's heart rate and body temperature from 190 feet in the sky “sounds so science fiction.” He said that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, Americans have slowly seen their civil liberties erode in the name of public safety.

Napolitano’s comments came after police in Westport, Conn., said they will be testing a "pandemic drone" that can scan the body temperatures of residents to determine if they have fevers or other health symptoms in an effort to combat the coronavirus.

Aerospace company Draganfly announced in a news release the drones will be equipped with a specialized sensor and computer vision systems that can display heart and respiratory rates. They can also detect people coughing in crowds, police said.

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“One of the major problems for cities and towns like Westport in managing and responding to a pandemic like the COVID-19 virus, is finding out who could be infected and how widespread the disease has spread,” said Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe. “One way to do this is to look for underlying symptoms."

Fox News' David Aaro contributed to this report.