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Idaho Bans Government Spy Drones

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Legislation pending in 31 other states

Steve Watson
April 12, 2013

Idaho has become the second state in the US to ban warrantless spy drones being used by police or government, in an effort to protect privacy.

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed legislation into law Thursday that restricts the use of unmanned vehicles by public agencies, and mandates that warrants must be obtained in order to collect evidence using the technology.

“We’re trying to prevent high-tech window-peeping,” Idaho Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder, sponsor of the measure in the Republican-led Idaho legislature, told Reuters earlier this year.

The bill was passed by both the Idaho House and Senate last week, and it strictly prohibits the use of drones to spy on anyone in the state, or to conduct surveillance of their private property, without the person’s express written consent.

In February, Virginia became the first state in the US to pass such legislation, as the state General Assembly approved a two year moratorium on drone aircraft, sending the legislation to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.

Since that time, McDonnell, who has previously applauded the use of drones has sought to weaken the legislation to allow certain parties to use drones.

The move did not surprise anti-drone activists in the state who have pointed to his strong connections with law enforcement.

“He’s a former prosecutor, and law enforcement wants these (drones),” John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute, a civil-liberties group said last week.

“Get ready, Virginia. The moratorium is an illusion. We will be one of the leading states” for drone use and technology. Whitehead added.

The approval of the Virginia moratorium came in the wake of the passage of legislation by city officials in Charlottesville, Va to keep drones out of their airspace altogether, making it the first US city to enact such a ban. Whether city officials will be able to extend their ban to federal drone aircraft or not remains to be seen.

Legislation has been introduced by lawmakers in 36 other states to regulate domestic drone use, and bills are still actively being considered in 31 states.

Recent reports have noted that the drone industry is engaged an all out PR offensive to convince Americans that the unmanned vehicles are more than just tools for spying and assassinations.

Recent surveys suggest that most Americans now have significant reservations about the use of drones by government and law enforcement, with over half believing they have a right to shoot down a drone if it flies over their property without their permission.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.

This article was posted: Friday, April 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm


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