Jerry Brown, California Governor, vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to adhere to strict regulations when using drones, his office told reporters on Sunday.
The measure had passed the state’s Senate and Assembly, (and with great support at that), would have mandated that all law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant before the use of unmanned aircrafts could be permitted (emergency situations such as fires or hostage taking were exempt from the rule.).
“There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill’s exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow,”
the California Governor said in his veto message.
According to the governor, this law would have imposed standards on law enforcement agencies that go behind that which is generally mandated by the United States and the Californian constitution. The bill would have also permitted the use of drones by other public agencies, so long as these drones would not have been used to gather criminal intelligence.
The Drone Privacy Protection Act. vetoed by Governor Brown would have also mandated law enforcement agencies to destroy any videos, photos or data collected within one year, with certain strict exceptions.
Those who support the bill claim that it protects both privacy and civil rights and doesn’t allow warrantless surveillance.
As such, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the author of the bill, believes that the era of government surveillance will continue. He expressed his disappointment over the veto on his Twitter account on Sunday:
the Assemblyman’s tweet said.
The measure was facing strong opposition from law enforcement groups- state police chiefs as well as sheriff’s associations weren’t hoping that the bill would pass. Even the Los Angeles District Attorney had been opposing it.
Other states have passed similar legislation: in Idaho and Virginia, the use of unmanned aircrafts is restricted by laws that protect the citizen’s privacy.
On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allowed six television production companies as well as movie production companies to use pilotless aircrafts when shooting scenes on closed sets. The FAA too was under increasing pressure to create and enforce rules that would allow that drones be used on a constant basis.