Never shy to top the charts, the state of Florida has ganered a unique reputation for its diverse culture and eccentric ways.
And according to the American Civil Liberties Union, it deserves praise once more: for being the first to consider banning surveillance drones in the sky.
Following up on Florida Watchdog’s report on state Sen. Joe Negron‘s bill to regulate the use of drones, the ACLU praises the Sunshine State for looking at ways to curb unmanned aerial vehicles, which have become popular weapons of war in the battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq,Yemen and Libya.
From their technology blog:
It was a very popular bill. In the hearing Senator Negron talked about how there must be a delicate balance between security and freedom, and said it’s not an appropriate role for the government to use drones to monitor the activities of Floridians.
Members on both sides of the aisle had concerns about drones—a lot of the Republicans actually wanted tighter language. There’s a couple of exceptions in the bill currently, and some Republicans thought the exceptions were too broad and wanted to get rid of them.
The bill also has wide support from Democrats, local sheriffs’ associations and the Florida Police Chiefs union.
It would the first bill of its kind across the nation.
“I support the use of drones to kill terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, but not to monitor the activities of law-abiding Floridians,” Negron said after his bill passed in the Criminal Justice Senate Subcommittee. “This bill will protect the privacy of our citizens while providing law enforcement the tools necessary to respond to emergencies.”
The ACLU believes it will be a model piece of legislation that could have positive implications in other states.
It ain’t over ‘till it’s over, of course, but it’s great to see Americans acting to get ahead of the curve on a privacy-invasive technology and put in place some sensible protections, without having to wait until after the disasters have already happened.