On May 28, the city of Evanston, Ill. became the third U.S. city to pass a resolution against the use of unmanned drones for warrantless surveillance.
The City of Evanston establishes a moratorium on the use of drones in the City of Evanston in the absence of reasonable state and federal regulation of the use of drone technology which will expire without further action by the City Council two years from the date of this resolution; with the following exemptions:
Exceptions include hobby model aircraft and experimental aircraft not associated with the Department of Defense.
The resolution also expresses support for state efforts to restrict drone use. In fact, the Illinois legislature recently passed a bill doing just that, and it awaits the governor’s signature.
The city’s action is notable. Northwestern University is located in Evanston. As an Ivy League school, Northwestern attracts students, faculty and guests from all over the world. As a university, it is very reliant upon the federal government to provide research grants, to set-up research facilities, and it receives Title 8 funding for students. Northwestern is a major force in the Evanston community, and contributes greatly to the local economy. One can only imagine the pressure exerted on these city council members.
Several lessons can be gleaned from their passage of the resolution.