Los Angeles, CA – Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), the author of California’s Drone Privacy Protection Act of 2014 – Assembly Bill 1327 – responded to anti-drone privacy activists who held a press conference at Los Angeles City Hall today announcing their opposition to the bill.
“A small group in Southern California opposed to government use of drones for surveillance seriously misunderstands both the scope and intent of AB 1327,” stated Assemblyman Gorell. “The sole purpose of this bill is to place restrictions on how state and local government may use drones, prohibiting law enforcement drone-use unless they have a warrant. AB 1327 protects civil liberties and privacy rights, while also providing a path for public agencies to take advantage of the numerous beneficial applications of drones, such as firefighting, emergency management and environmental monitoring.”
Specifically, the bill requires that law enforcement agencies obtain a warrant for surveillance absent exigent circumstances; prohibits weaponization of drones; mandates the destruction of drone data after a year; requires that public agencies first provide notice to the public before using drones; and allows local governments to adopt more restrictive measures on drone use.
AB 1327 is a landmark legislation that was developed over two years with input and negotiations with many stakeholders across the state. The bill is supported by 42 law professors across the nation because the warrant requirement in AB 1327 protects privacy, free speech, and due process rights guaranteed by California law and the U.S. Constitution. Currently there are no such restrictions in state law, and unless AB 1327 is signed by Governor Brown, California will be without any drone privacy protection laws when the FAA authorizes drones in 2015.
AB 1327 passed out of the state legislature with strong bipartisan support in August, and is currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature.