by Mikael Thalen
Two Washington state bills that protect residents from illegal drone surveillance in the public and private sector are quickly gaining large bi-partisan support.
The first bill, HB 1771, not only prohibits the acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles by government agencies without prior approval by the state legislature, but also protects residents by requiring law enforcement to obtain warrants for any drone surveillance. Originally introduced last year, the bill’s popularity has grown with Republican and Democrat sponsors.
“We’ve been working collaboratively across the aisle to address some of the concerns raised over the last year,” Rep. David Taylor (R), the bill’s primary sponsor, told Storyleak. “The bill will protect the citizens of Washington from warrantless surveillance using UAVs.”
The bill also protects citizens who may inadvertently be captured by a drone’s camera during warranted use, requiring that any and all identifying information be deleted within twenty-four hours.
“No personal information collected on an individual or area other than the target that justified the issuance of a search warrant may be used, copied, or disclosed for any purpose. Such personal information shall be deleted as soon as possible, and in no event later than twenty-four hours after collection,” Section 11 of the bill reads.
According to the legislation, law enforcement would also be required to conduct yearly comprehensive audits on all drone operations. The audits, which would be made available to the public, would include copies of all warrants, the law enforcement log book and any corresponding emergency telephone calls.
The second bill, HB 2178, gives the same protection to Washington residents from private drone usage as well. Any individual with a reasonable expectation of privacy must give consent before being filmed by any privately owned drone.
“Prohibits operation of an unmanned aircraft in Washington airspace if the unmanned aircraft has active sensory devices onboard that collect personal information about any individual without the individual’s consent,” the bill’s summary reads. The bill also establishes “a private right of action for an individual whose reasonable expectation of privacy is violated.”
While both bills grow in popularity among surveillance-weary residents, aerospace giant Boeing as well as the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs remain likely opponents. While Boeing successfully lobbied the Democratic leadership to reject drone regulation last year, Democrats have now jumped on board, likely responding to public pressure.
A leaked email also revealed a Washington lawmaker’s attempt to hide a drone demonstration from the public last March, citing fear over “demonstrations and security” issues.
Others such as industry lobbyist Paul Applewhite attempted to derail the legislation as well, shockingly advocating for “lethal force” within the United States during a House Committee hearing last February.
Despite the minor hiccup last year, residents did successfully end the Seattle Police Department’s attempts to use surveillance drones, forcing the department to return two drones to their vendor.
With the Obama administration attempting to assassinate yet another American overseas, the public’s support of drones may be shifting. Given different police departments’ vocal support for adding “rubber bullets and tear gas” to UAVs, few Americans are willing to wait and see how far the government is willing to take armed drones.
As experts predict the arrival of more than 30,000 drones over US skies by 2020, constitutional lawmakers are desperately working to restrain the government’s attempts at indiscriminate drone use.
Supporters of these bills are encouraged to contact members of the Washington Association of Sheriffs & Police Chiefs to politely demand they support constitutional drone guidelines.
Phone: (360) 486-2380
In other news:
The global warming tipping point is near
by Andrew Thomas
Malcolm Gladwell’s great book The Tipping Point presents the case that sudden seismic shifts in society can result from small events, if the right factors are present. Tipping points happen when momentum toward an idea builds and finally crosses a threshold where it is evident that a major cultural change has occurred. The global warming tipping point is coming, but not the one anticipated by climate change “experts.”
Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory has been dominant for the past three decades as absolute fact in the public mind. In the last several years, however, cracks in the fortress of “settled science” have appeared, and public opinion has begun to shift. Increasingly, alarmist predictions have failed to come to fruition.
In 2004, NASA’s chief scientist James Hansen authoritatively announced that there is only a ten-year window to act on AGW (presumably by transferring mass quantities of taxpayer funds to global warmist causes) before climate Armageddon destroys humanity. Well, that window has now shut tight, and AGW is AWOL.
Al Gore, the high priest of AGW theory, has closed all of his Alliance for Climate Protection field offices, and laid off 90 percent of his staff. Contributions have all but dried up since 2008.
Australia’s conservative government has severely curtailed the country’s climate change initiatives and is in the process of repealing its business-killing carbon tax. A group of German scientists predicts dramatic global cooling over the next 90 years toward a new “little ice age.”
Of course, even many “low information” folks have an awareness of the record increase in Arctic sea ice, as well as the current highly-publicized predicament of the cadre of wealthy global warmists stuck in record-high sea ice while on a cruise to the Antarctic to prove the absence of sea ice.
Now the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has quietly downgraded their prediction for global warming for the next 30 years in the final draft of their landmark “Fifth Assessment Report.” The effect of this is that they are tacitly admitting that the computer models they have religiously relied-upon for decades as “proof” of AGW theory are dead wrong.
The tipping point is near. I can smell it.