Illinois SB1587, the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act, was referred to the Rules Committee last month, but still has not been brought up for a vote. This bill would prohibit warrantless drone surveillance under most circumstances. Passage would end the possibility of most drone use in Illinois. This is a BIG step forward for the privacy.
SB1587 has been stalled for about a month. With the end of the session fast approaching, the bill may die without your vigilance.
1. Contact the House Chair on Rules. Politely ask her to schedule a hearing and vote YES on SB1587
Barbara Currie (217) 782-8121
2. Contact all the other members of the Rules Committee. Strongly, but respectfully, urge each of them to vote YES on SB1587.
Timothy Schmitz (217) 782-5457
Lou Lang (217) 782-1252
David Leitch (217) 782-8108
Frank Mautino (217) 782-0140
3. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Using model legislation from the Tenth Amendment Center, you can introduce legislation to nullify Drones in your city, town, and county with the Privacy Protection Act .
Model legislation here: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/privacy-protection-act/
4. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.
If signed into law,SB1587 would prohibit law enforcement agencies from using unmanned drones to gather evidence or other information without a warrant in all but a few circumstances.
The act does leave the door open for some drone use. The prime exception allows for the use of drones “to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is such a risk.” In addition, the bill would permit law enforcement agencies to use drones when attempting to locate a missing person, as long as that flight was “not also undertaking a criminal investigation.” It would also allow for review of a crime scene and traffic crash scene photography. Any information gathered by a drone would have to be destroyed within 30 days, unless the information proved to contain evidence of criminal activity, or was relevant to a trial or investigation.
Some activists criticize the bill due to the various exceptions. While they do raise legitimate concerns, as things exist today, Illinois have no protections against drones.
1. The DHS can call on Illinois to use drones for any “non-emergency” situation it wants.
2. The DHS can call on Illinois to use drones for any emergency situation it wants.
3. Law enforcement in Illinois can use drones in any situation they want.
Passage of the bill would eliminate number one and most of number three, so this bill ushers in a MASSIVE improvement over the status quo.
While the legislation only limits drone use by state and local government, it will seriously impact federal plans. 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 federal government serves as the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance carried out by states and local communities. The Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so they can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, represent an unconstitutional expansion of power.
The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once they create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing.’ 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.