RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- General Assembly members are learning more about the emerging unmanned aircraft industry and are likely to debate soon what restrictions North Carolina could place on the aircraft to protect the privacy of citizens.

A House panel held its first meeting Tuesday to study what are commonly known as drones and examine their potential for agriculture, law enforcement and other fields. Committee members also will examine how to protect constitutional rights and the privacy of those who may be filmed or on whom data is collected by the aircraft.

The Federal Aviation Administration essentially prohibits the commercial use of these aircraft right now. But tests are being performed at hundreds of locations nationwide, including North Carolina. A center at N.C. State University currently flies the aircraft at three locations.

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