UPDATE: Moved from 19th to 4th of February.
Charlottesville Va City Council has chosen to place on its agenda for the February 19th meeting a resolution opposing, restricting, or banning drones. (This date has been confirmed; it is the 19th.)
The Virginia General Assembly has already been considering legislation on drones. It’s important for Virginia localities to make their voices heard.
The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones in U.S. skies. Will proper restrictions be in place in time?
In the absence of laws, local police departments around the country are establishing their own practices. If those localities that care about civil liberties stay silent, those that don’t will create de facto law for all of us.
Americans are spied on without warrant or probable cause using every existing technology. Without serious restrictions and penalties in place, drones will be no exception.
Police departments that want to use drones to target protesters with pepper spray and rubber bullets will make the argument that this approach protects the police. But a better way to protect the police would be to instruct them to assist the public in exercising first amendment rights, rather than treating the public as an enemy in a low-intensity war.
If you live in Charlottesville please let the city council hear your support and advice:
If you live in or near Charlottesville, please be at the meeting on February 19th, 7 pm in City Hall, get there very early if you want to speak.
No matter where you live, you might want to watch PBS on Wednesday evening:
Learn more about drones: