California Gov. Signs Law Concerning Privacy from UAVs

Posted by Betsy Lillian on October 02, 2014 No Comments
Categories : Policy & Regulations

Shortly after vetoing a bill that would restrict how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used by police and other public agencies, California Gov. Jerry Brown has now signed a law concerning privacy.

A.B.2306, which was authored by Assemblymember Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, would strengthen California privacy laws by making the use of “any device” to record personal or familial activities a constructive invasion of privacy, Chau explains in a release.

An AFP report says this bill is aimed at protecting the privacy of the public but also applies to celebrities: Paparazzi cannot use UAVs to take photographs. Miley Cyrus, for example, posted evidence on social media of a UAV hovering over her Los Angeles home in July.

“As technology continues to advance and new robotic-like devices become more affordable for the general public, the possibility of an individual’s privacy being invaded substantially increases,” says Chau. “I applaud the governor for signing A.B.2306, because it will ensure that our state’s invasion of privacy statute remains relevant even as technology continues to evolve.’

Under existing law, he says, a person is liable for a ‘physical’ invasion of privacy if that person trespasses onto someone’s property to capture an image or sound recording of the person in a personal or familial activity. It is a ‘constructive’ invasion of privacy if this is done without a physical trespassing but through the use of a “visual or auditory enhancing device,’ he explains.

A.B.2306 recognizes that many new technologies could permit an invasion of privacy without a physical trespassing, he says, even though those devices might not technically qualify as a “visual or auditory enhancing device,” which is a term that is not defined in existing law. Instead, A.B.2306 makes our laws less technology specific and focuses more on the intrusive conduct itself, Chau concludes.

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