The intention of the bill is to protect people living in Oklahoma from loss of privacy by “prohibiting operation of an unmanned aircraft system for surveillance.” The bill will move on to the calendar committee for further consideration. If approved, it will head to the House floor for a vote.
HB1556 would allow the use of drones by law enforcement in only a few, very restricted, situations – the bill specified search and rescue, and under warrant, for example. Warrants have to be very specific in the information they are trying to obtain, must show probable cause, and don’t allow for the keeping of extraneous information that is coincidentally collected about non-involved persons in the process. Which means that your neighbors should be safe from surveillance, even if the police have a warrant for your backyard. If footage of them happens to be collected in the process, it must be discarded.
If the bill becomes law, therefore, it would be a great victory in protection against unreasonable search and seizure, especially as we head into the new frontier of massive drone production that’s being pushed by the Federal Government.
While the bill only limits drone use by state and local government, it will have some serious impact on intended results being pushed by the federal government. At this stage in the ‘drone game,’ the feds are working hard behind the scenes to get states to operate the drones for them.
In fact, the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance being carried out by states and local communities is the Federal government itself. Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so that those agencies can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, are an uncosntitutional expansion of power.
The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once the create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing,’” he said. “Bills like these put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without the states and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for DHS plans to – take off.
ACTION ITEMS for Oklahoma
ACTION ALERT for Washington residents
1. Contact members of the Calendar Committee and let them know you want them to pass HB1556 on to the House floor for a vote. You can find committee member contact information HERE.
2. Contact your representative and ask them to support the bill. You can find legislator contact information HERE.
3. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Present the Privacy Protection Act to your city county, your town council, or your county commissioners. Various local governments around the country are already passing similar resolutions and ordinances. Local legislative action present a great way to strengthen a statewide campaign against warrantless drone surveillance.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
If you’re outside of Oklahoma, please contact your own legislators regarding anti-drone legislation. If none has been introduced in your state, you can email them The Privacy Protection Act model legislation.
Track the status of drone nullification in states around the country HERE