All Drone Legislation Must Meet These Three Requirements

All but seven states have proposed or adopted legislation relating to the domestic use of drones, or unmanned aerial systems, in domestic airspace, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Now, at the invitation of the Aerospace States Association, EFF has rung in with the three crucial elements that all drone legislation must contain to balance privacy rights with free-speech concerns.

Some proposals floated so far, such as California’s AB 1327, lay out a decent framework for limiting the use of drones by law enforcement. Few states, however, have adequately handled the use of drones by private individuals. Texas' recently passed (but so far unsigned) HB 912manages to mess up both sides of the table by allowing cops to use drones without a warrant while also hampering the press' ability to use drones in newsgathering. The ACLU has acomprehensive breakdown of the legislation, along with analysis of the good and the bad and what has passed into law so far.

On Friday, EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch submitted a set of recommendations for states seeking to regulate drones. In her letter, Lynch outlines three straightforward principles that, at a minimum, must be included in any UAS legislative scheme.


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