While browsing my group selections on Linkedin I came across the discussion of this article:

Senator Floyd Prozanski wants to ban privately owned UAV’s.

I don’t have a lot of tolerance of morons in political office.  Not so not surprisingly, I will now share my reaction to Senator Prozanski’s proposed legislation:

As a private investigator this is something I’m keeping a close eye on.    The ‘drones will invade privacy’ sentiment runs pretty strong among the American public based on everything Ive read, and politicans (looking for re-election) are following suit.

Images obtained by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles [UAV] aren’t somehow more revealing simply because no one’s on board.   Unless the thing is flying in your yard, it’s camera aimed stealthly through your bedroom window, the observations and recordings obtained by the ‘drone’ can already be legally obtained  by a manned aircraft.

The primary motivation in using a UAV or ‘drone’ is one of reduced cost, all other factors being equal.  I have no problem with Federal or State legislators deciding that airborne gathering evidence without permission of the land owner below is illegal without a warrant… if those rules apply ACROSS THE BOARD.    What does whether a person is physically present on the aircraft have to do with anything?

The United State Supreme court has ruled (and upheld their initial decision)  that evidence of criminal activity obtained by law enforcement from the air is admissible.  The court’s ruling stated  that images obtained in this matter, or related  eye witness accounts   occurred in “public view” to the passengers/pilot of the aircraft.

So how can legislators/law makers/judges decide that images or video obtained from a UAV are somehow a terrible infringement on personal privacy simply because a person is not aboard the aircraft?  Security cameras record parking lots, city streets, etc constantly without someone physically handling the camera… and as I already stated, aerial photography and evidence gathering from an airborne manned vehicle has already been ruled fair game.

To try to pass laws and regulations that state UAV’s are somehow violating people’s rights to privacy requires some sort of justifiable argument and “because no one is sitting on the aircraft” doesn’t cut it.  Neither does “well, because I just don’t like it.”

 

James Pollock

Bulldog Investigations

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