New Drone City

The Lone Star State Has No Need for These Picture-Taking, Privacy-Invading Drones

No eyes in the skies, please.
No photos, please. (Photo: flickr.com/adactio

No pictures, please, no pictures. (Photo: flickr.com/adactio

The drone invasion is practically upon us: The FAA is authorizing various police departments to fly unmanned aerial vehicles; Chris Anderson left Wired to focus on his drone hobbyist startup. But it seems some folks are none too keen on the idea of eyes in the sky surveying their yards, and you will probably not be too surprised to learn some of those opponents live in Texas.

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be drone-operating snoops.

Popular Science reports that the Texas State House is currently considering a bill which would prohibit using drones to take snapshots of private property. As written, it’s pretty stringent:

It’s unique because it criminalizes taking any data–photos, sound, temperature, even odor–of private property using an unmanned aircraft without the permission of the property owner. Law enforcement officers could only use drones while executing a search warrant or if they had probable cause to believe someone is committing a felony, and firefighters can only use drones for fighting fire or to rescue a person whose life is “in imminent danger.”

That’d sure help anyone with a pot-growing operation sleep easier at night.

The Republican sponsoring the bill, Lance Gooden, says he doesn’t want to ban drones outright. He just doesn’t want them taking a bunch of pictures that could be handed over the authorities who could then, hypothetically, tip off someone like the EPA or the DEA or whoever. Says Popular Science:

Gooden said he doesn’t want to limit beneficial drone uses, from law enforcement pursuing criminal suspects to power companies checking downed lines. “But under no circumstances, ever, should people lose their right to privacy just because people want to take pictures,” he said.

This guy is really going to flip when someone tells him about Google StreetView.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com