Tag Archive | Legislation

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.

Senator Wants to Keep Women’s GPS Data Away From Stalkers

Alex Fitzpatrick, Mashable, Dec 17, 2012

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota is championing the cause of data privacy — specifically, he wants to keep the smartphone locations of women and children a secret from stalkers and third-party companies. Franken’s new bill, the Location Protection Privacy Act of 2012, would outlaw so-called “stalking apps,” software specifically designed to track a person’s movements via their phone’s GPS signal and which is marketed for nefarious purposes. What are stalking apps used for?During testimony last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Franken told the story of a Minnesota woman whose abuser was sending threatening text messages based on her location.

For full text of the article, visit Senator Wants to Keep Women’s GPS Data Away From Stalkers.

Congressional Research Service Summary

Latest Title: Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011
Sponsor: Sen Franken, Al [MN] (introduced 6/16/2011)      Cosponsors (6)
Latest Major Action: 12/17/2012 Placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 567.


Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 – Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit a nongovernmental individual or entity engaged in the business of offering or providing a service to electronic communications devices from knowingly collecting, obtaining, or disclosing to a nongovernmental individual or entity geolocation information from an electronic communications device without the express authorization of the individual using the device. Defines “geolocation information” as any information concerning the location of an electronic communications device and used to identify or approximate the location of the electronic communications device or the individual using the device. Makes exceptions: (1) necessary to locate a minor child or provide fire, medical public safety, or other emergency services; (2) for the sole purpose of transmitting the geolocation information to the individual or another authorized recipient; or (3) expressly required by state, regulation, or appropriate judicial process.

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Mobile Carriers Lobby Against Cellphone Location Privacy Bill

by David Kravets, Wired Magazine, April 23, 2012

Cellphone companies are objecting to proposed California legislation that would force them to publicly report the number of times they turn over cellphone location information to police and federal agents, arguing that it’s too burdensome, and would take time away from the important work of sharing customer data with cops “day and night.” At issue is California’s SB 1434, a bill that would prohibit carriers from turning over locational data to police without a warrant. That data can include when and where a phone was when it made or received calls; a phone’s whereabouts as it pings cellphone towers or, in the extreme case, a phone’s GPS history. The companies, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, oppose a provision of the bill that would force them to keep track of law enforcement requests and to annually publish that information on the internet.

For full text of this article, please visit Mobile Carriers Lobby Against Cellphone Location Privacy Bill | Threat Level | Wired.com.

PA House of Representatives Approves Cutler Measure to Create Geospatial Coordinating Council

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) to create a State Geospatial Coordinating Council to assist the governor in creating uniform data standards and efficient geospatial policy and technology in Pennsylvania.The net effect of this legislation is a safer Pennsylvania, said Cutler. This legislation is vital to Pennsylvanias emergency responders who rely on accurate mapping data to locate accident victims, hazardous sites and disaster locations. If emergency service providers have incorrect maps, it could add costly minutes to their crisis response times and could lead to the loss of life or the escalation of a catastrophe.

For full text of the article, visit House Approves Cutler Measure to Create Geospatial Coordinating Council.

Legislation Authorizing the Creation of State Geospatial Coordination Councils

Prepared by Howard Veregin, Wisconsin State Cartographer for the Wisconsin Geographic Information Coordination Council (WIGICC), September 2011

This paper provides information on legislation authorizing the creation of state geospatial coordination councils in the United States. The material was put together primarily through outreach to members of the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) in 2011. … Most states have a geospatial coordination council, but details of governance, authority, and funding are widely variable. Some councils were formed by executive order, others were created through legislation, some are non-profits, and others are completely voluntary and have no official standing. This paper focuses only on [fourteen] legislatively-created councils… [It is not a complete list yet.]

For a PDF copy of this paper, click here or go the Creation of WIGICC webpage and find a link to the report under the Coordination Model Research box in the right hand column. Also linkable from this page is a Coordination Council Nationwide Map, List of Coordination Councils Nationwide, and detailed profiles of eight leading state coordination models.

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