Florida Senate Passes Anti-Drone Surveillance Legislation

By on April 11, 2013

by Ali Papademetriou

Florida’s Senate passed SB92 or the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act”, on Wednesday. If signed into law, the bill would protect Florida citizens from their Fourth Amendment being violated by mandating that drone surveillance can only be permitted if a warrant is obtained first.

The legislation, which was initially introduced in December, has since been revised twice and is co-sponsored by Senators Brandes, Evers, Bradley and Benacquisto. It states that, “A law enforcement agency may not use a drone to gather evidence or other information,” and details that there are some exceptions as to when a drone may be lawfully used.

Of course, the bill explains that unless a warrant is gathered from a judge, law enforcement may not use drone surveillance. It also reads that drones may be permitted to “counter a high risk terrorist attack” if the United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary determines that such “intelligence” is absolutely necessary.

Likewise, drone surveillance use may be permitted if the law enforcement body holds reasonable suspicion and or reason to use the technology to target serious circumstances such as preventing harm being done to property or to locate a fleeing suspect or missing person.

It is also stated in the bill that “An aggregated party may initiate a civil action against a law enforcement agency to obtain all appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation of this act,” essentially meaning that if law enforcement abuses the regulations admitted by this legislation, the complainant can take legal action.

Similarly, it comes as no surprise that if evidence is collected through drone surveillance that is in violation of the terms of the Act that that information may not be used as valid evidence in court.

Now it is up to Florida’s House to determine whether or not Floridians will be protected from law enforcement abusing the rampant use of drones that is swarming the country before it can reach Governor Scott’s desk.

About Admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *