Massachusetts legislature to consider drone privacy bills

Friday, February 22, 2013 at 10:44 am by

Massachusetts State HouseIn response to the proliferation of drone technology and the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) expanding list of certified drone users, Senator Robert Hedlund and Representative Colleen Garry of Massachusetts have introduced dual bills (collectively known as The Drone Privacy Act) in an attempt to regulate the use of such unmanned aerial vehicles in the state.

In addition to the wholesale ban on the use of weaponized drone technology, provisions of the bill construct strict limitations upon the use of drones for both public safety and law enforcement purposes. In the event that a drone is necessary for law enforcement purposes, government and police officials are required to obtain a warrant with probable cause before any deployment of drones can take place. Conversely, the bills would permit the use of drones in instances where information is obtained without the intent of future usage in criminal proceedings. Furthermore, drone use will remain allowable in exigent circumstances, including emergencies when a danger to human life or safety is believed to be imminent.

Speaking on the proposed legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts states that while:

The word “drone” conjures images of conflicts across the globe, remote controlled aerial technology is increasingly of interest to local law enforcement too. While the FAA will regulate drones’ use of airspace, it is up to state lawmakers to ensure that this emerging technology is used responsibly in Massachusetts–without weapons, of course, and not for warrantless surveillance of residents.

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The unregulated use of drones has been an area of intense conflict between the government and privacy advocates, who have criticized drones as a mode of surveillance that is unnecessarily intrusive and invasive. Championed by a Republican Senator and a Democratic Representative in an era of ideological entrenchment, the two bills highlight the bipartisan nature of current stances and worries towards the deployment of drone technologies by public and private entities.

In addition to the bills sponsored by Senator Hedlund and Representative Garry, three other pieces of legislation have been introduced in Massachusetts that similarly focuses on the promotion of privacy rights. The Drone Privacy Act is particularly salient in the context of current debates over the regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles, and represents one of many attempts across the nation to curb their usage.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, you can ask your legislator to co-sponsor these bills online.

If you are not a Massachusetts resident, numerous other states have introduced similar proposals in their legislatures; check if your state legislature is considering such a bill, and take action by calling your own state representatives.

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13 Responses to “Massachusetts legislature to consider drone privacy bills”

  1. People's Blog for the Constitution » Virginia joins growing list of states to stand against drones Says:

    [...] addition to Virgina, states and localities from California to Massachusetts have introduced anti-drone bills.  Draft legislation in congress would ban the weaponization of [...]

  2. Government Domestic Drone Expansion & Warrantless Searches Imminent | Grumpy Opinions Says:

    [...] Massachusetts legislature to consider drone privacy bills [...]

  3. Kate Ryan Says:

    Our organization, Victims Against Electronic Harassment and Stalking in Massachusetts, is working toward exposing the abuse individuasl in the state are being subjected to by drone activity over our homes. We do not like the direction of police state that seems to be taking place.

  4. Cindy Grimes Says:

    Thank you for this news.

    And a great list of topics, on the right.

    I am concerned about WHO’S spying on me (!) and how they would
    intrepret what they’re ‘seeing’ or hearing.

    Do we get to know these people that are doing this?!
    That would be interesting!

    My concern is that the wrong people would get this kind of access to people, and that problems could ensue (like the landlords’s cases, where they’ve peeped on tenants-not unlike that).

    I just think that the ‘average’ person/guy, looking in on a female who’s living alone, might get a proprietary attitude that is inappropriate and extremely injurious to that person.

    This country has really gone amok!

  5. People's Blog for the Constitution » Drone restriction bill debated in Maine Says:

    [...] is just the latest of 21 states, including Massachusetts and Virginia, that are debating moratoriums on the use of drones. The legislature is planning to [...]

  6. 47% Of Americans Believe They Have A Right To Shoot Down Drones | YouViewed/Editorial Says:

    [...] Massachusetts legislature to consider drone privacy bills (constitutioncampaign.org) [...]

  7. barbara guillette Says:

    Are we so riddled with crime that now we need drones to watch over us, are we such a crime riddled country that we need these drones to have our gov’t and police spy on us 24/7? Is there really a NEED FOR THEM.
    Where are the numbers to prove this, that we are crime riddled, and the reasonable cause for drones,,,We must realize once we allow drones , they will be with us, as long as our gov’t exists and if our gov’t falls will be used against us.It can happen.

    I am stalked by my neighbors , I whistleblew against a corporation that wanted their toxic dump buried,,,these stalkers ,,who are affiliated with the local gov’t, who were and are part of this conspiracy , Stalk me even today.

    I know what can be done with this new and invasive technology, first hand. Pulsed weapons and through the wall radar,, back scatter cameras to find you within your home,Pulses hitting you as you sleep , to drive you into a sleep deprived state. Anxiety, insanity etc.

    , So before any or you let these drones fly in our skys you better know what you are letting yourself in for.
    regards
    bjg

  8. Obama’s ‘Kill List’ Grows | Pakalert Press Says:

    [...] state, California, as well as legislation being introduced in many states, including Florida, Massachusetts, North Dakota and [...]

  9. Obama’s ‘Kill List’ Grows » Global Reset Society Says:

    [...] as well as legislation being introduced in many states, including Florida, Massachusetts, North [...]

  10. barbara guillette Says:

    It is illegal for the military to be active on domestic soil this is in our constitution, our military is only for foreign wars and to defend the home land,,, drones are part of the military hence they are illegal to use domestically.

  11. People's Blog for the Constitution » Constitution in Crisis :: BORDC’s March Newsletter Says:

    [...] legislature to consider drone privacy bills by Yiqian [...]

  12. People's Blog for the Constitution » A flurry of state legislation on drones Says:

    [...] past month saw the introduction of bills in Maine and in Massachusetts, as well as passage of a bill in Virginia that now awaits the governor’s signature, and a [...]

  13. What’s Keeping Drones Out of the City | City Law Says:

    [...] (D-CO) and Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA). States are also in on the act, including for example Massachusetts and Virginia, but privacy advocates are facing opposition in places like Washington. Some cities [...]

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