Representative Tom McMillin, a Michigan State lawmaker, has privacy concerns regarding unmanned drones used by law enforcement agencies in the state.  He wants to ensure that drones do not illegally collect personal information or violate personal privacy.

Michigan HB4455, a bill to authorize and regulate the use of unmanned aerial vehicles; to provide the powers and duties of certain state agencies and departments and local units of government; to authorize the use of unmanned aerial vehicles under certain circumstances; to prohibit the operation of unmanned aerial vehicles under certain circumstances; to prohibit the disclosure of information collected by unmanned aerial vehicles under certain circumstances; and to provide penalties and sanctions was introduced on March 14, 2003, by Representative McMillan and sent to the Criminal Justice Committee on the same day.

A law enforcement agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state shall not disclose or receive information acquired through the operation of  an unmanned aerial vehicle.   A person shall not operate a UAV that contains, mounts, or carries a lethal or nonlethal weapon or weapon system of any type.  The body of a UAV shall bear the name of the political entity that owns the UAV in clearly printed and visible lettering.  

Information about a person acquired through the operation of an unmanned aerial vehicle shall not be disclosed or received unless 1 or more of the following circumstances apply:  

1.  The person has given written consent to the disclosure.

2.   The unmanned aerial vehicle is used in circumstances in which it is reasonable to believe that there is an imminent threat to the life or safety of a person, for the purpose of assisting the person.

 “Since drone technology is developing so rapidly, we should prepare now for the legal and practical challenges that are quickly approaching us, while allowing the reasonable, very narrow, use of drones by law enforcement to aid in our citizens’ protection,” McMillin said in a statement Thursday. “Our citizens should not have to worry about Big Brother looking down on them from above.”

Under his bill the use of a drone by law enforcement would require a warrant or the presence of imminent danger. It would require that information gathered in an “unauthorized manner” be destroyed and made inadmissible in courts. There would be reporting requirements placed on the use of drones and the information they gather.

Persons or entities who violate this Act can be punished with sanctions/disciplinary action or may be found guilty of a misdemeanor or felony, imprisonment, and/or a fine anywhere from $500.00 to $10,000, depending on the severity of the violation.

Sixteen other Michigan State Representatives have signed on to co-sponsor this bill.


1. Contact the Committee Chairman.   Urge him to schedule a hearing and advise him you want him to vote YES on HB4455

Representative Kurt Heise –  517.373.6339

2. Contact all the other Members of the Criminal Justice Committee.  Advise them that you would like them to vote YES on HB4455.

 Contact information for Criminal Justice Committee Members here.


Linda McDonald

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