Seven pieces of legislation have been introduced in the Hawaii State Legislature that would regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to protect the privacy rights of citizens.
Four bills in the Senate (SB2582, SB2150, SB2152 and SB2608) and three bills in the House (HB1827, HB1775 and HB1691) have been introduced this year to provide further protection for HI citizens from this burgeoning technology that could have dangerous consequences if unchecked.
SB2152 states, “While there is an existing body of federal, state, and local law relating to privacy, the question arises whether existing law is adequate to alleviate the concerns of state legislators and citizens regarding privacy rights in light of this new technology. The purpose of this Act is to adopt the recommendations of the Aerospace States Association, the Council of State Governments, and the National Conference of State Legislatures regarding privacy considerations arising from the emergence of unmanned aircraft systems.”
HB1691 spells out the protective measures more clearly, preventing illegally-gathered information from being used in criminal prosecutions and creating a mechanism for victims to collect restitution for potential privacy violations. Although it does give the DHS power to use drones for supposed emergencies which leaves the potential for abuse, this bill is a step in the right direction that would set up some safeguards for citizens.While the exception cause concerns, these bills represent a huge improvement over the status quo. As things stand, no limits exist on drone use in Hawaii at all.
The rest of the bills that have been introduced contain similar language and provisions to protect privacy rights from drones.
Tenth Amendment Center’s executive director Michael Boldin said that these types of bills have significant ramifications at the federal level because Washington D.C. is pushing and funding drone use at the state level.
“The feds want to push these on the states, and if the states refuse, it’ll foil their plan,” 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.”
As a matter of 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.’ It is in the best interest of the DHS and the rest of the federal government to bring the states on board with their regime of constitutional destruction to shift costs, shift blame and make it easier for them to get their hands on more of your private information.
Bills like the ones that have been introduced in HI 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 the police state plans of the DHS to – take off.
That is why we have our model legislation, the Privacy Protection Act available for you to take to your local and state government officials and demand that they take action to protect your freedoms.
For Hawaii: Take action today to help pass these bills by clicking HERE.
For Other States: Take action in your state to push legislators to introduce and support bills to nullify drones by clicking HERE.