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Lawmaker Wants Drones Regulated Over Texas Skies
Are videos and pictures from a drone lurking onto your property an invasion of your personal privacy? One Texas lawmaker says yes and is proposing new regulations for unmanned aircrafts.
Texas Representative Lance Gooden introduced the Texas Privacy Act, targeting unmanned vehicles and aircraft. "Basically if I have a drone, than I can't spy on you without your permission seem pretty simple," he says.
Gooden's bill would make it a crime to use any unmanned vehicle or aircraft, like drones, to capture video and photographs of private property without the owner's consent
"If a child predator has a drone he can park it over a school or he can park it over his neighborhood and take picture of kids," said Gooden.
He says this would also be true of law enforcement, which would need a warrant to be able to send up a drone in non-emergency situations to get video and pictures.
While the bill at its heart looks to protect privacy, hobbyists fear lines in the sky may be drawn and their flights will be grounded.
"Everybody is pro-privacy," said Justin Edwards. "I think if someone sets out with the intent to spy that's obviously a bad thing, but I think just someone putting on a go pro camera on their plane shouldn't be a crime."
Edwards is worried the bill would make it illegal just to take a drone up on your property as a hobby and get video of the house or the kids playing.
Filmmakers use aircraft with video equipment attached, but the fear is if it caught something on public and private property where would the line be drawn.
Representative Gooden stresses this is not an aerial attack on hobbyists, rather guidelines for a technological world lacking regulations to protect citizens' rights.
He says the bill is still in its early stages and is not only taking input from fellow members of the house, but from the community and hobbyists.
Edwards hopes they can work something out that would benefit and protect both sides.
For more information on aerial photography you can visit http://www.droneabove.com/.
By Adam Racusin