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Florida’s drone wars strikes the City of Key West

Legislation has been passed in Florida, Tennessee, Idaho, Montana, Texas and Oregon to limit the use of drones. The Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act, Senate Bill 92, was passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott in April.

The Associated Press reports, “Since 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved more than 1,400 requests for drone use from government agencies and public universities wanting to operate the unmanned aircraft for purposes including research and public safety. Since 2008, approval had been granted to at least 80 law enforcement agencies.”

The Tenth Amendment Center reported:

Florida state and local law enforcement agencies utilizing drones will now do so under carefully prescribed limits. On Thursday [April 25th, 2013], Gov. Rick Scott signed The Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act into law.

“I like privacy,” he said.

SB92 prohibits any state or local law enforcement agency from using unmanned drones to gather evidence or other information without a warrant except  “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 such a risk,” or if “swift action is needed to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage to property, to forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or the destruction of evidence, or to achieve purposes including, but not limited to, facilitating the search for a missing person.”

The law also opens the door for any person whose privacy is violated by a drone to take civil action and would also make any evidence gathered in violation of the act inadmissible in court.

Read more.

“This is something all Floridians should be proud of,” Scott said. “We shouldn’t have unreasonable surveillance of ourselves.”

But wait, not so fast. You are not protected if you are a mosquito in Key West.

According to Jordan Valinsky from The Observer, “Hey, it looks like we found something useful to do with drones besides serving lukewarm sushi to unsuspecting customers. City officials in Florida Keys are testing using the unmanned aerial vehicles to track down and take out the flying devils, a.k.a mosquitoes. In case you’re imagining drones shooting lasers, the flying robots will be equipped with infrared cameras to locate areas where mosquitoes like to socialize, such as shallow-water pools. Once those places are targeted a ground team will swoop in to obliterate the mosquitoes with poison.”

But what if you are in an area where the City of Key West is hunting for mosquitoes? What if the shallow-water pool is in your backyard?

Valinsky has a solution, “Make sure someone sprays some Off! on the drones.”

RELATED: Drone industry to journalists: Don’t use the word ‘drones’ – Washington Times

Dr. Richard Swier

Dr. Rich Swier is Publisher of www.DrRichSwier e-Magazine. Twitter: @drrichswier He holds a Doctorate of Education from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA, a Master’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Washington University, St. Louis, MO. Richard is a 23-year Army veteran who retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1990. He was awarded the Legion of Merit for his years of service.

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Categories: Courts & Law, News, Policy

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