Illinois drone task force is made up mostly of cops

qubepolice

By Kelsey D. Atherton

When it comes to drone law, some opinions are more equal than others. A bill sitting on the Illinois Governor’s desk would create an “Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force”, with 22 set-aside seats for representatives from different groups who might reasonably have opinions on drone use. So long as the public is included, it’s a good idea, but there’s something strange about the list: it completely omits any group concerned with civil liberties, and it also leaves out the media.

This is especially strange, because the Task Force’s stated job of “providing guidance into the safe operation of drones, while not infringing upon the constitutional rights of others” and “provide oversight and input in creating comprehensive laws and rules for the operation and use of drone technology within this State”

Here are the 22 groups that Illinois deems important enough to regulate drones in the Land of Lincoln, clustered by relevance:

The first four are all direct drone industry or rulemaking organizations, so those are good:

  • a member of the Division of Aeronautics of the Department of Transportation, nominated by the Secretary of Transportation
  • a UAS technical commercial representative
  • a UAS manufacturing industry representative
  • a person nominated by the Attorney General

There are representatives from industries that might use drones, and their regulators:

  • a member of the Department of Agriculture, nominated by the Director of Agriculture
  • a member of a statewide agricultural association, nominated by the president of the association
  • a member of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, nominated by the Director of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • a member of a statewide commerce association, nominated by the president or executive director of the association
  • a member of a statewide surveying association, nominated by the president of the association

Here are the police departments represented. The task force is over one fifth police! The task force helpfully specifies one cop from Chicago and one cop from not-Chicago to even it out.

  • a member of the Department of State Police, nominated by the Director of State Police
  • a Conservation Police officer of the Department of Natural Resources, nominated by the Director of Natural Resources
  • a member of the Illinois Conservation Police Lodge, nominated by the president of the Lodge
  • law enforcement official from a municipality with a population of 2 million or more inhabitants, nominated by the mayor of the municipality
  • a law enforcement official from a municipality with a population of less than 2 million inhabitants, nominated by a statewide police chiefs association
  • a member of a statewide association representing real estate brokers licensed in this State, nominated by the president of the association
  • a member of a statewide surveying association, nominated by the president of the association

There are other, drone-tangential industries, like retail, hunting, and freight trains:

  • a member of a statewide sportsmen’s federation, nominated by the president of the federation
  • a person nominated by an electric utility company serving retail customers in this State
  • a member of a statewide retail association, nominated by the president of the association
  • a member of a statewide manufacturing trade association, nominated by the president or chief executive officer of the association
  • a member of a statewide property and casualty insurance association, nominated by the president or chief executive officer of the association
  • a member of a statewide association representing real estate brokers licensed in this State, nominated by the president of the association
  • a member of a statewide freight railroad association, nominated by the president of the association

And there’s the National Guard, who in 2012 had people without pilots licenses operating drones in Illinois airspace, which was at the time against FAA rules. Since then, the National Guard were granted permission to share information their drones collected with local police.

  • a member of the Illinois National Guard, nominated by the Adjutant General

Completely missing from the list are organizations tasked with government oversight or with privacy as their mission. The drone industry itself only has two representatives, and the closest the public gets to a direct advocate is the person nominated by the Attorney General. This is a marked contrast with Grand Forks North Dakota, where drone use began tightly regulated, with auniversity review board providing oversight not just of student drone use but also unmanned flights by local police.

In its present form, the “Unmanned Aerial System Oversight Task Force Act” is sitting on the Governor’s desk, awaiting signature.

http://www.popsci.com/here-are-22-industries-illinois-wants-have-regulate-drones