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Even Hobby Drones Could Be Made Illegal In Texas

by Rebecca Boyle, POPSCI, February 12, 2013

On a hazy day last January, an unmanned aircraft enthusiast piloted his camera-equipped drone in the vicinity of a Dallas meatpacking plant, cruising around 400 feet in the air. To test his equipment, he took some photos of the Trinity River with a point-and-shoot camera mounted to his $75 foam airframe. When he retrieved the remote-controlled aircraft, he noticed something odd in the photos: A crimson stream, which appeared to be blood, leaking into a river tributary. …On Dec. 26, a grand jury handed down several indictments against the owners of the Columbia Packing Company for dumping pig blood into a creek. … Under a new law proposed in the Texas legislature, sponsored by a lawmaker from the Dallas suburbs, this type of activity could soon be criminal. …

Texas House Bill 912–and similar laws under debate right now in Oregon and elsewhere–are driving a burgeoning debate about how to use and control unmanned air systems, from an AR.Drone to a quadcopter. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of drafting new rules governing unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, including military-style aircraft. But in the meantime, plenty of cheap, easy-to-use aircraft are already popular among hobbyists and, increasingly, activists and law enforcement.

For full text of the article Even Hobby Drones Could Be Made Illegal In Texas | Popular Science.

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VA Becomes First State to Pass Drone Regulations

by Jason Koebler, US News & World Report, Feb 5, 2012

The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that will put a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by state and local law enforcement. If signed by Gov. Bob McDonnell, Virginia will become the first state in the U.S. to enact drone regulations. Virginia House Bill 2012 easily passed Monday by a vote of 83-16 and its companion, Senate Bill 1331, passed Tuesday by a vote of 36-2.

For full text of the article, visit Virginia Becomes First State to Pass Drone Regulations – US News and World Report.

Seattle mayor ends police drone efforts

USA Today, February 7, 2013

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s mayor on Thursday ordered the police department to abandon its plan to use drones after residents and privacy advocates protested. Mayor Mike McGinn said the department will not use two small drones it obtained through a federal grant….The decision comes as the debate over drones heats up across the country. Lawmakers in at least 11 states are looking at plans to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans.

For full text of the article, visit Seattle mayor ends police drone efforts.

 

As drones get really tiny, new rules proposed for Seattle

by Jake Ellison, SeattlePI.com, February 4, 2012

Weighing in at 16 grams and capable of performing in “harsh environments and windy conditions” a tiny drone unveiled by the British government today shows just how quickly drone technology and use is developing.“The Black Hornet is equipped with a tiny camera which gives troops reliable full-motion video and still images. Soldiers are using it to peer around corners or over walls and other obstacles to identify any hidden dangers and the images are displayed on a handheld terminal,” the British government wrote. And as the Seattle Police Department, like many others in the nation, becomes eager to use drones as part of their police work, Seattle Councilman Bruce Harrell jumped into the fray this afternoon with proposed legislation to rein in drone use.

For full text and copy of the proposed rules visit Drones get really tiny; new rules proposed for Seattle – seattlepi.com.

 

Drone Programs Sparks Budgetary and Privacy Concerns

By Steve Aftergood, Secrecy News, January 31, 2013

The development of unmanned aerial systems (or drones) for military and civilian applications appears to be accelerating faster than the normal policy process can adapt to it.  Aside from festering doubts about the legality, propriety and wisdom of their routine use in targeted killing operations, drone programs are beset by budgetary confusion, and a host of privacy and other legal problems are poised to emerge with the expanded use of drones in domestic airspace. … Meanwhile, “Perhaps the most contentious issue concerning the introduction of drones into U.S. airspace is the threat that this technology will be used to spy on American citizens,” said a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

For full text of the article visit Secrecy News here.

A copy of the CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News.  See Integration of Drones into Domestic Airspace: Selected Legal Issues, January 30, 2013.

See also Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS): Manufacturing Trends, January 30, 2013.

Additional resources on drone policy issues are available from the Electronic Privacy Information Center here.

Too Big to Succeed: The Need for Federal IT Reform

The following is part of a special series of policy briefs by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars running until inauguration day. This piece, written by Commons Lab Early Career Scholar Zachary Bastian, tackles the need for reform in federal information technology.

As the world has become more dependent on information technology (IT), so has the federal government and its constituencies. Leveraged effectively, technical tools can engage the public, create cost savings, and improve outcomes. These benefits are obscured by regular reminders that federal IT is fundamentally flawed. It is too big to succeed. For IT to become sustainable, the federal government must enable change in three categories: 1) embracing agile development, modular contracting, and open-source software, 2) prioritizing small business participation, and 3) shifting the federal IT culture towards education and experimentation. The adoption of these reforms is vital. The current state of federal IT undermines good work through inefficiency and waste.

Click here to read the remainder of this brief on Scribd.

Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Location Privacy Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting to consider pending nominations and legislation on December 13, 2012, including the Location Privacy Protection Act. The bill, however, was not enacted in the last Congress.

Watch the video here (meeting starts at 21 min into video).

Agenda

I. Bills

S.1223, Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 (Franken, Blumenthal, Coons, Durbin, Feinstein). Ordered Reported By Voice Vote, Three Senators Recorded As No

  • Substitute Amendment HEN12877 (Franken) Adopted By Unanimous Consent

For more information and links to the amendments listed above, please visit Senate Judiciary Committee.

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