In line with what is now taking place across the country, senators in Idaho have drafted a bill to address the issue of unwarranted surveillance by drones. This is an ever more pressing concern with the introduction of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) – both large and small – available for a variety of uses, including that of law enforcement.
SB 1067, The Preserving Freedom From Unwarranted Surveillance Act, was introduced by the Senate Transportation Committee and establishes provisions relating to the gathering of evidence or other information through the use of drones or other unmanned aircraft. Also relating to the use of a drone by a law enforcement agency when exigent circumstance exist, relating to civil actions and providing that no information obtained in violation of the provisions may be admissible as evidence in criminal proceedings.
Exigent circumstance are considered to exist if law enforcement “possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action to prevent imminent danger to life is necessary.”
Restrictions on the gathering of information include; “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, ordinance, regulation or rule, except the the extent authorized in a warrant.”
There is a second senate bill, SB 1051, which also reasserts these principles. The sponsor, Senator Chuck Winder, says that it’s essential to make sure the wide range of drone uses don’t infringe on constitutional protections.
Both bills are currently in the Senate Transportation Committee.
If you live in Idaho, please call the members of the Senate Transportation Committee, and ask them to move SB 1067, and/or SB 1051 forward for a floor vote.
Next, call your senators and ask them to protect your privacy rights by supporting this legislation. Their information can be found here.
If you live outside the state of Idaho and haven’t seen similar legislation introduced, 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.