Ohio has joined the growing number of states considering restrictions on drone use. Legislation limiting the use of drones by law enforcement agencies was introduced on 6/12/2013 by Ohio State Representative Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont).
House Bill 207 was introduced in response to law enforcement agencies seeking to purchase and use unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones.
“As this technology continues to become more prevalent, the state of Ohio must be vigilant in seeing that drones are used only in circumstances that specifically protect public safety,” Damschroder stated. “HB 207 ensures that law enforcement agencies are only using drone technology for appropriate reasons. We have all watched over the past few weeks how technology could potentially be used by government agencies to violate our privacy and conduct unwarranted surveillance. We need to do everything possible to prevent a Big Brother society where government exerts too much control of our lives or has too much access to our private information.”
The bill states that no law enforcement agency shall operate a drone unless the agency has obtained a search warrant, or if a law enforcement agency has reasonable suspicion that swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, serious damage to property, or to prevent the escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence. HB 207 further ensures that no information or evidence collected while operating a drone shall be used in a court proceeding if it was obtained in violation of the exceptions provided in the bill.
“We all have a right to personal privacy and HB 207 advances that cause,” Damschroder continued. “The bill is a preemptive strike against the abuse of our 4th amendment rights and makes it clear that drones cannot be used simply to spy on individuals and survey our property.”
ACTION ITEMS FOR HB 207
1. Contact your state representative. Strongly encourage her/him to support HB 207.
2. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Using model legislation from the Tenth Amendment Center, you can introduce legislation to nullify Drones in your city, town, and county with the Privacy Protection Act .
Model legislation here: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/privacy-protection-act/
3. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.
4. Like us on Facebook. Keep up to date with all nullification bills going through the state of Ohio.
While HB 207 may not be a perfect bill, it’s still a strong step forward to protect against federal plans for drone spying around the country. At this stage in the ‘drone game,’ the feds are relying almost solely to get states and local communities to start drone programs. Federal agencies are working hard behind the scenes to get states to operate the drones for them.
In fact, the primary engine behind the expansion of drone surveillance being carried out by states and local communities is the Federal government itself. Department of Homeland Security issues large grants to local governments so that those agencies can purchase drones. Those grants, in and of themselves, are an unconstitutional expansion of power.
In fact, this has been as much as confirmed by a drone industry lobbyist who testified in opposition to a similar bill in Washington State, saying that such restrictions would be extremely destructive to the drone market and industry.
The goal? Fund a network of drones around the country and put the operational burden on the states. Once the create a web over the whole country, DHS steps in with requests for ‘information sharing.’ Bills like these put a dent in this kind of long-term strategy. Without the states and local communities operating the drones today, it’s going to be nearly impossible for DHS plans to – take off.
Scott Landreth is the Ohio Chapter Coordinator for the Tenth Amendment Center, a national think tank that serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. Send him e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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