* An interesting bill sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss…
Creates the Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act.
Provides that a law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather information.
Permits the use of a drone by a law enforcement agency: (1) to counter a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization if the United States Secretary of Homeland Security determines that credible intelligence indicates that there is that risk; (2) if a law enforcement agency first obtains a search warrant signed by a judge authorizing the use of a drone; or (3) if a law enforcement agency possesses reasonable suspicion that, under particular circumstances, swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life or serious damage to property, or to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence.
Provides that a law enforcement agency may not own or use a drone that is equipped with any kind of lethal or non-lethal weapon.
Provides that information obtained or collected in violation of the Act is not admissible as evidence in any criminal, civil, administrative, or other proceeding. Establishes certain information retention and reporting requirements concerning drone ownership and use.
* From the ACLU…
The Illinois National Guard and the Champaign County Sheriff have tested drone technology in Illinois airspace. And, the Cook County Sheriff is now exploring whether to acquire and utilize the technology. […]
“When government knows where we are, they know who we are,” said Adam Schwartz, senior staff counsel for the ACLU of Illinois. “Our nation is in the midst of a technological revolution. Many of these technologies permit the massive gathering of information and data about individuals and groups and can undermine our freedoms.”
“We must adopt appropriate guidelines now to insure that these technologies do not become overly intrusive.”
* The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center has been FOIAing the local county sheriff to see what he’s up to with his drone…
From the documents provided, it looks as if the Sheriff’s drone has been downed by mechanical failures as much as it has been in the air. According to a flight log obtained, the Sheriff’s drone was flown four times between November 2011 and May 2012, all for training purposes only. Two of the flights were “Non-Successful,” with the most recent one ending in a crash.
* And a recent Tribune story…
More than 20 states are pursuing similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. While some states are trying to regulate unmanned aircraft use, others are trying to impose moratoriums that ban them, Biss said.
Virginia lawmakers approved a two-year moratorium on the aircraft in the state last week to allow time for a study. The legislation awaits the governor’s signature. […]
[Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s] thinking is that drones would be cheaper to use and cost less taxpayer money than using helicopters for aerial operations, Bilecki said. A small, unmanned aircraft used for search and rescue can cost on average between $38,000 and $50,000, much less than in years past, said James Hill, president of AirCover Integrated Solutions, a California-based drone manufacturer.
To gain traction at the Capitol, Biss potentially might have to overcome resistance from law enforcement leaders. To that end, Biss said he’s talking with police chiefs, the Illinois State Police and other police agencies to iron out any wrinkles.
* The Question: Should the state ban unarmed local police drones or regulate them? If your answer is “regulate” then what would be your regulations? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.