CAMARILLO (CBSLA.com) — The state of California is on the verge of enacting some of the strictest standards in the nation concerning the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), thanks in part to the efforts of two Southern California lawmakers.
The state Assembly voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass Assembly Bill 1327, a bipartisan bill co-authored by Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) and Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) aimed at protecting the privacy rights of Californians by establishing restrictions on the use of unmanned aerial systems, also known as “drones”.
According to Gorell, AB 1327 addresses privacy concerns by implementing strict warrant requirements for law enforcement agencies looking to utilize the technology. It also mandates that public notice be given when an agency intends to use drones, requires the destruction of collected data within 6 months, and prohibits the weaponization of drones.
With an estimated 30,000 drones expected to occupy America’s skies over the next two decades, Gorell told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO federal efforts to regulate the use of UAVs must be supplemented by state legislation.
“People are flying model aircraft all the time – not for surveillance but just for a hobby – and that’s not restricted by FAA,” Gorell said. “So there’s absolutely a requirement for legislatures to look at this.”
Gorell – a former Naval Intelligence officer – cited similar efforts by state lawmakers in Virginia, who recently passed a complete moratorium against any UAVS being used by any government agency for the next two years.
In addition to proposed government and civilian applications, private companies such as UPS and Amazon have also begun exploring how they can utilize drones commercially when the technology becomes available.
After its passage in the state Assembly, AB 1327 will now move on to the California State Senate for further approval.