Two More States Move Bills to Take on Drones, Stingrays

By Michael Boldin for OffNow, March 29, 2016 •

Last week, New Hampshire passed a bill to stop drone spying, while Georgia passed a bill to ban weaponized drones. This week, a hearing was held in Rhode Island on a bill to stop spying by “stingray” or cell site simulators.

The New Hampshire House voted 251-114 to pass a bill taking on drone spying.* Under the proposed law, Introduced by Rep. Neal Kurk, HB602 now goes to the state Senate for further consideration.

New Hampshire state and local law enforcement agencies could not “use drones, or obtain, receive, use, or retain information acquired by or through a drone, to engage in surveillance, to acquire evidence, or to enforce laws,” without a warrant, with a few narrow and specific exceptions.

PoliceDrone1-270x179In Georgia, the legislature passed a bill banning weaponized drones in the state. The bill originally addressed warrantless drone spying as well, but heavy opposition from law enforcement groups got that portion stripped from the bill. It’s now on the Governor’s desk awaiting a signature or veto.

And this week in Rhode Island, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill that would require a judicial order for the use of “stingrays” to track the location of phones and sweep up electronic communications.

Currently, police in Rhode Island can track cell phone locations and even listen in to conversations with no restrictions or limitations. Passage of the bill would be a vast improvement over the status quo.

Here in New York, two bills were introduced in the State Senate and State Assembly, respectively, during January of 2015.

NYPD-SpyingIn 2015, a total of 45 states considered 168 bills related to drones. Twenty states – Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia – passed 26 pieces of legislation.

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