State Rep. Proposes Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Act

875_drone_hexacopter_in_sky State Rep. Proposes Unmanned Aerial Surveillance ActOklahoma Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Moore, has proposed a new drone privacy bill, which is being applauded by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma.

H.B.1295, the Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Surveillance Act, is designed to ensure that new drone technology – which now enables unprecedented ease and expansion of government surveillance, the organization says – is properly regulated to protect due process and privacy rights of citizens.

The Associated Press explains that the bill would limit how law enforcement can operate unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the state. Under the proposed legislation, law enforcement would need to have a warrant, or there would need to be “other limited circumstances” to allow them to operate UAS.

Wesselhoft’s bill is now eligible to be considered up by the Oklahoma House of Representatives during the 2015 Legislative Session.

“Even in its infancy, the potential benefits drones will bring are already apparent. From public safety to private commercial activity, drones are a game-changer,” says Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma.

“It is entirely possible for us to enjoy the benefits of drones without bringing us a large step closer to a surveillance society in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by government authorities, but we must act now,” he explains.

“Representative Wesselhoft’s bill is an important part of accomplishing that by regulating only government surveillance activity and not interfering with the private use of drones; we are simply calling for accountability, transparency and the continuation of our nation’s centuries-old tradition of protecting our privacy from the prying eyes of the state,” Kiesel says.

The full text of H.B.1295 can be found here.

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