Thursday, March 14, 2013

ACLU Eyes Drones

The American Civil Liberties Union continued voicing its concern about the use of domestic drones Thursday, summarizing legislation efforts in an article titled, Drone Legislation: What's Being Proposed in the States?. The nonprofit activist organization also sent out emails urging recipients to take the situation seriously with subject lines reading, “Drones are like puppies (they'll follow you home).” The email addressed such issues as the use of unmanned aerial craft as surveillance tools by law enforcement agencies.

Drone Legislation, authored by ACLU advocacy and policy strategist Allie Bohm, detailed bills pending that include a variety of issues and contingencies, such as conditions dictating if or when domestic drones may eavesdrop or be equipped with weapons. Lawmakers are exploring such issues as the extent warrants will be required, and to what extents information may be used or stored when obtained accidentally. Circumstances surrounding photography, electronic data collection and similar complexities are at the center of debate.

Bohm pointed out how the approach to such issues differs greatly from state to state, as do some of the items up for discussion. Virginia, for instance, shot down a bill that prohibited drones from keeping tabs on hunters on private land, while California might offer tax breaks for drone manufacturers. Georgia, meanwhile, passed resolutions praising drone development. The ACLU reported that the Federal Aviation Adminstration estimated that as many as 30,000 drones could be filling American airspace by the end of the decade.

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