Proposed Ban Could Kill Aerial Photography
Many states are struggling with how to deal with drone technology, more specifically “mini-drones” and the adoption of UAV’s by law enforcement. Spurred by this, Representative Neal Kurk has recently proposed a bill to squash any sort of aerial imagery.
The bill says this:
A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, “dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.
Does anything strike you as strange about this?
First, the bill is offered up as a way to protect citizens from being spied on or documented. Most complaints from citizens revolve around the government’s use of these devices, not aerial photographers or even services like Google maps. Yet, the bill specifically excludes government officials and entities which effectively ignores the public’s actual subject of complaint.
Second, is the section about “forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects.” That means no buildings, but would also include roads, power lines, vehicles, dumpsters, or even a rogue sock sitting in a field. What about man-made lakes? What makes a low altitude aerial photograph so different from one taken on the ground of the same subject? What if I’m coming in on a flight and snap a photo out the window of the city lights below me?
Third is the fact that this is effectively a proposed ban on many people’s hobbies, and is some cases professions.
What is the point of this ban in the end? Is it truly necessary?
I could see banning aerial photography of government buildings, that makes sense. This blanket ban seems to be very poorly thought out to say the least.
Read more and look over the ban yourself at AGBeat