A bill by state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, Calif., to prohibit drones from trespassing on private property without owner permission has passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote.
According to Jackson, California law already prohibits people from entering others’ private property without permission and prohibits them from photographing or recording conversations.
S.B.142 clarifies that the rules pertaining to trespassing also apply to entry by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on private property. The bill would create a no-fly zone of 350 feet above private property.
“Drones have a lot of helpful and extremely innovative uses. But invading our privacy and property without permission shouldn’t be among them,” Jackson explains. “When we’re in our backyards – with our families – we have an expectation that we have a right to privacy. Drones have upended all those expectations, and it’s important that we set reasonable boundaries so that our privacy and security remain intact.
“This bill would extend our long-established definitions of trespassing and privacy and bring them into the 21st century by applying them also to drones,” she continues.
S.B.142 would not impact of the use of drones in public spaces. Owners would also be free to use drones on their own property or on property in which they had been given permission by the owners to fly. Personally ordered packages could still be delivered to one’s front door by drone – should that one day become a viable option, says Jackson.
The bill now heads to the Assembly floor. Jackson is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees legislation on privacy issues.
The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) says in a news post that it will urge Jackson “to include language in the bill that would allow for the inclusion of language exempting [Federal Aviation Administration]-approved commercial operators.”
The association adds, “If the proposed language is not accepted, AUVSI will begin a grassroots campaign to oppose this measure,” which it feels “will have an adverse impact on an industry that wants to be regulated and takes safety, risk and liability seriously.”