CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is calling on the legislatures of all fifty states to protect the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens from police use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. In the wake of the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, it is expected that at least 30,000 drones will occupy U.S. airspace by 2020. In alerting the state legislatures to the dangers posed by drones to citizens’ privacy and civil liberties, The Rutherford Institute has made model legislation available, titled “Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act,” that would not only prohibit state governments from using data recorded via police spy drones in criminal prosecutions but would also prevent police agencies from utilizing drones outfitted with anti-personnel devices such as tasers and tear gas.
The Rutherford Institute’s letter to the state legislatures, model drone legislation and companion fact sheet are available at www.rutherford.org.
“These drones—aerial, robotic threats to privacy and security—are being unleashed on the American populace before any real protocols to protect our privacy rights have been put in place and in such a way as to completely alter the landscape of our lives and our freedoms,” said Whitehead. “It is critical that states not only give serious consideration to the dangers posed to our freedoms by these aerial devices but ensure that the American people are protected against any resulting incursions on their rights as provided for by the U.S. Constitution.”