Florida Debates UAV Ban

"Drones are fine to kill terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they shouldn’t be hovering in the sky, monitoring Floridians—that’s not something we believe is an appropriate role for government," says Sen. Joe Negron.

Florida's state Senate is close to passing legislation that would ban Floridians from using UAVs for surveillance—but provisions in the act create broad exceptions for law enforcement who have search warrants and are dealing with "emergency situations." The Miami Police Department and Orange County Sheriff's Department were among the first in the nation to purchase surveillance drones after the FAA gave the green light for law enforcement to use UAVs. Florida Sen. Joe Negron (R-Naples) is sponsoring the Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act, which in its original form prohibited Florida law enforcement from using drones for any purposes. The loopholes for warrants and "emergency situations" were made following pressure from law enforcement lobbyists; in statements, Negron said he feared that low-cost drones could be purchased by homeowners' associations for code enforcement purposes.

"Drones are fine to kill terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but they shouldn’t be hovering in the sky, monitoring Floridians—that’s not something we believe is an appropriate role for government," Negron said in a statement. UAVs have rapidly declined in cost over the past two years, with warzone-tested technology making its way (sans weapons) to the United States. Aerial photography drones with a $100 list price are currently under development, and UAVs are becoming increasingly common for real estate photography.

[Image: New Zealand Defence Force]

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3 Comments

  • Floridacybernaut

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling....  There are many legitimate uses for drones, like commercial photography and video.  Again, it seems like politicians, criminals and lawyers are the only ones concerned about imaginary or nominal privacy issues.  

  • rkt9

    The thing that concerns me the most is how much noise do they make?  We already have manned heliopters in the sky, and they are very annoying on what was a peaceful quiet day, once they start circling in the sky, looking for a shoplifter who ran away on foot.  The helicopter assisted searches seem to be more often.  If the drones are quiet, I would prefer their use over the now noisy helicopters.

  • Y2k_boss

    RKT9,
         It's not the shoplifter that you need to b concerned about and I seriously doubt the helicopter resource will be used for that with the expense incurre. It's the potential murderer or terriist type that UA's will serve the best purpose or perhaps the lost child. Think about it and don't be so caught up in your peaceful little life.