by Derrick Broze
May 13, 2013
The bill would also create penalties for possessing or distributing images taken from the sky by the UAV’s, also known as drones. The crime would be a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a $500 fine.
Several amendments were offered throughout the process, including one that would have given police forces full reign of the drone technology. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, said this bill focuses too heavily on limiting police department use of drones.
“A domestic surveillance state will not be tolerated in Texas. There are proper uses of technology by government , but the people must decide where draw the line,” said Heather Fazio, Executive Director of Texans For Accountable Government. “Texans have done just this by limiting the use of surveillance drones by law enforcement.” The bill does allow exemptions for law enforcement officials tracking suspected criminals.
The bill has now been referred to the Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security committe in the State Senate. If it passes Texas will become the second state to pass statewide drone limits. Last month Idaho became the first state to restrict drone use without a warrant.
In 2012 the FAA Modernization and Reform Act passed. This bill contained a seven-page provision – known as the Drone Act – which required the FAA to integrate airspace for the use of drones over American skies by 2015.
That Federal Aviation Administration expects the number of drones in the sky to increase to 30,000 by 2020. As the FAA struggles with how to clear airspace for drones, at least eleven states have launched preemptive efforts to protect against privacy violations in the coming drone invasion.
Drones, like any tool, are capable of both good and bad. What matters is who is holding said tool.
It’s not hard to imagine a number of ways we can apply the technology to our own lives and help to improve our lives. It might be possible to have activist drones that can give participants in a rally an aerial view of their surroundings. Possibly for use as a cop watching assistant. There are even ways we could apply the technology to bettering our lives through our food.
For example, the Department of Transportation and the State of Idaho recently announced that the FAA authorized the use of two remote-controlled aircraft to monitor potato fields in eastern Oregon.
Drones are here to stay. What matters is how we choose to allow this technology to manifest itself in our lives. Texans will continue to oppose government and police use of drones every step of the way. In the mean time it is not a bad idea to invest in our own drone technology.
Perhaps through continuing to educate ourselves, and each other, on the dangers associated with drones we will create an environment where drones programs are not rushed forth in secret, and citizens have full access to the details of the programs. Every day new local and state efforts are launching to oppose drones and their invasion into our lives. Find out if your city is already standing against the drones. If not, do a little research, began printing and passing out literature, stand up strong, and spread the word about what is happening in our country.
Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers.
He writes for dev-test.intellihub.com a popular independent news website.
He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio.
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