Congressman Ted Poe Introduces Bill to Control Drone Use

I recently introduced, along with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), H.R. 637, the Preserving American Privacy Act. With an estimated 30,000 drones in U.S. skies by 2030, now is the time for Congress to act to set specific guidelines for when and for what purposes law enforcement agencies and private individuals can use drones. I introduced this bill after asking for input from our local law enforcement, legal scholars, civil rights and privacy groups at an event held at Rice University last October.

The “Preserving American Privacy Act”:

  • Prohibits targeted surveillance of an individual or their property by law enforcement without a warrant.
  • Mandates transparency during the permitting process for public accountability.
  • Makes it unlawful for private individuals or law enforcement officers to use or operate an a drone that is armed with a firearm (includes explosives)Sets clear exceptions for use of drones for border security purposes and for surveillance during certain emergencies, such as wildfires and droughts.

Individuals are rightfully concerned that these new eyes in the sky may threaten their privacy. It is the obligation of Congress to ensure that this does not happen. Just because Big Brother can look into someone's backyard, doesn't mean it should. Technology may change, but the Constitution does not. And that’s just the way it is.

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