The escalation of the surveillance state is happening with the induction of drones in US airspace. Petitioning the government for our privacy is not working. In response, State Representative Guernsey pre-filed a bill in December to nullify drone surveillance in the state of Missouri. Representative Guernsey’s bill, HB 46 Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act is the line in the sand.
This bill requires a warrant for any drone surveillance use in monitoring people for alleged criminal conduct. “No person, entity, or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or conduct in violation of a statute or regulation except to the extent authorized in a warrant.” Law enforcement is defined as, “”Law enforcement agency”, any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency in the state. The term law enforcement agency shall not include the Missouri department of corrections, or any state, county, or municipal fire department.”
It also proposes to stop even general surveillance by the use of a drone. “No person, entity, or state agency shall use a drone or other unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance of any individual, property owned by an individual, farm, or agricultural industry without the consent of that individual, property owner, farm or agricultural industry.”
The bill does not mention storage of surveillance, but is a step in the right direction, according to supporters. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are considered part of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) which includes a ground station, operator, and equipment to store collected surveillance.
Even though the legislation only includes state and local law enforcement agencies in its prohibition of drone use, Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin says the bill still has ramifications at the federal level because of Washington’s strong advocacy of drone use.
“The feds want to push these on the states, and if the states refuse, it’ll foil their plan. That’s my gut instinct,” he said. “They already spy on Americans so much that Rand Paul said it numbered in the ‘Gazillions’ after a secret meeting last fall. If the feds can get the states to start buying up and running drones over our cities, they’ll certainly want access to all that surveillance information in the future. It’s important that states begin drawing a line in the sand now – no aerial spying here.”
Boldin said passing the Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act would also lay an important foundation for the future.
“If the legislature passes this bill, it’s going to be pretty tough for the feds to pull off the funding, manpower and resources to do it themselves. At that point, if they try, the states can nullify those acts too.”
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you don’t live in Missouri, encourage your representative and senator to introduce legislation to stop drone use. You can find model legislation and track efforts nationwide HERE.
Track the status of Drone legislation in states around the country HERE
Currently, this bill has not been assigned to a committee or scheduled for a reading. To get the ball rolling on the nullication of drones in Missouri, please contact your representative and strongly recommend they vote yes on this bill.
To stop the invasion of drones in your State’s airspace, go to The Tenth Amendment Center’s Model Legislation page. The Privacy Protection Act breaks up drone surveillance in two parts: Stop warrantless drone surveillance and criminalizing law enforcement from using drones.