Drones are relatively new, but they evoke enough concern that Phoenix is exploring ways to regulate their use.
We asked two experts: What if drones were widely accepted and legal?
Alessandra Soler – Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona:
“By the time drones are widely accepted and legal, Arizona should have laid a legislative foundation for their acceptable use by the government.
Drones threaten our privacy and have the ability to greatly expand government surveillance, so it’s not surprising they have prompted action from across the political spectrum. Drone use regulations have already been discussed by Congress, in nearly all of the state legislatures and by municipal officials in major cities, like Phoenix.
Arizona’s priority should be passing a law that requires police to have a warrant before using a drone over non-public spaces to collect evidence. States across the country, including Florida, Idaho, Montana and Tennessee, have already enacted this rule.
Beyond a warrant requirement, any drone legislation should include image retention and sharing policies to govern who in the government can use captured data. All policies and procedures for drone use by the government should be explicit and public. Independent audits of governmental drone deployment should be conducted regularly.
Furthermore, drone use by the government — regardless of whether the land below a drone is public or private — should be limited to instances where authorities have good reason to believe evidence related to a specific crime will be collected. Exceptions could be made for emergency situations, like a fire, hostage crisis or person lost in the wilderness, or if there is a reasonable non-law enforcement purpose, such as a geological survey.
These restrictions, along with a ban on drone weaponization, will prevent the government from harassing individuals from above and going on evidentiary fishing expeditions.”
State Rep. Jeff Dial – Republican representing Chandler:
“As chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee in Arizona House, I am consistently wowed by the technological advances being driven by our private sector and state university system. One area that will continue to spread its wings and fly is our unmanned aerial-vehicle industry.
Yet, just like the aerodynamics necessary to keep these aircraft in flight, we must focus on balancing our desire to drive economic opportunity with developing appropriate safeguards to protect privacy, ensure safety and develop security measures around the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.
I am a staunch advocate for protecting the rights of everyday Arizonans. Towards that end, last year I wrote and championed House Bill 2574 which restricted government and law enforcement from utilizing drones to collect information without a search warrant and prohibited individuals in the public from monitoring people inside their homes or places of worship where there is an expectation of privacy.
Drones mean “innovation jobs” for Arizonans. According to the Arizona Commerce Authority, Arizona is one of the largest and fastest-growing aerospace centers in the United States and a proven, recognized national leader in training, testing and developing the future of the aerospace and defense industry.
With leading-edge education and research at Arizona State University, the University of Arizona, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Northern Arizona University and Cochise College, our state is home to many programs focused on leveraging drones for civil applications including agriculture, “search and rescue,” identifying hotspots in forest fires and analyzing heat loss from buildings, as well as a variety of military applications.
We must continue to develop safety measures that protect neighbors, private property and privacy rights, while still facilitating an environment for innovation and job creation. The sky is the limit for Arizona and drones, but it will take policymakers keeping our feet firmly on the ground to guarantee that this technology successfully delivers for our state!”
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