Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Washington governor vetoes bill that would have set rules for drone use by governments and police

Citing privacy concerns, Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee "vetoed a bill that would have regulated the use of drones by government and police," Jim Camden reports for The Spokesman-Review. "In its place, Inslee called for a 15-month moratorium on purchasing or using unmanned aircraft by state agencies for anything other than emergencies such as forest fires. He said he hoped local police chiefs and sheriffs would issue similar orders and the Legislature would take another run at the issue next year."

The concern over the legality of drone use has been much debated. The Federal Aviation Administration said commercial drone use is illegal, but a ruling by a federal judge to dismiss an FAA fine appears to make it legal for commercial drones to fly below 400 feet.

The bill Inslee vetoed "would have set standards for state and local government use of drones, with requirements for obtaining warrants when law enforcement used them for surveillance," Camden notes. "Inslee called it 'one of the most complex bills we’ve had to analyze' and said the emerging technology of drones creates difficult issues for government. The bill had some conflicting provisions on disclosure of personal information, he added." (Read more)  

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