The FAA is *supposed* to have federal regulations for commercial UAvs in place by 2015. But progress waits for no man -to say nothing of government agencies- so drone technology is being adopted in almost every industry in almost every state. The March 2014 ruling by Judge Patrick Geraghty of the National Transportation Safety Board stated that “there was no enforceable FAA rule” to justify the $10,000 fine of aerial photographer Raphael Pirker has left the skies open, for now, so states are taking matters into their own hands.
One such state is New Hampshire, which currently has two bills regarding drone use in various stages of approval.
House Bill 1620, which recently passed the state House of Representatives, is the second attempt by Rep. Neal Kurk to get drone legislation approved in New Hampshire. The bill is intended to “protect New Hampshire residents’ privacy from inappropriate uses of drones, whether by government or private sector interests,” Rep. Kurk said in an email.
The bill prohibits drone weaponization of any kind and the use of drones for intentional surveillance or to obtain evidence – unless a warrant is obtained or the Department of Homeland Security deems there is a “high risk of a terrorist attack.” Anyone, private citizen or government employee, who violates the proposed law would be guilty of a class B felony.
On March 12, 2014, the bill passed in the New Hampshire House with little opposition and will next be heard by the State Senate Judiciary Committee on April 8th.
The second bill, HB 1362, was introduced by Rep. Joe Duarte who purports that his bill will prevent instances wherein the police would abuse the advantages drones can provide.
Public opinion on both bills is divided. Some, including Kensington Police Chief Mike Sielicki, are strongly opposed to the bills, arguing that the technology will strengthen public safety and eventually save lives. Many others, from University of New Hampshire professors to members of the the NH branch of the ACLU, support protecting privacy but also would like to preserve the right to free speech especially among journalists.
Stay tuned to DRONELIFE for updates on the bills’ progress.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com