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Texas Anti-Drone Spying Bill Hits Governor Perry’s Desk
by Ali Papademetriou
In February SLN reported on a Texas bill introduced by Representative Gooden that would crack down on government violation of the Fourth Amendment.
House Bill 912, known as the ‘Texas Privacy Act’, would make so that gathering unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone surveillance images without a warrant or probable cause would be considered a Class C misdemeanor.
As far as the criminal charges go, the bill stipulates that, “A civil penalty of $1,000, subject to adjustment of the dollar amount under for each image of the plaintiff or of the real property owned or legally occupied by the plaintiff that is captured, possessed, disclosed, displayed, distributed, or otherwise used.”
In addition, the measure specifies that the images that someone “possesses”, “discloses”, “displays”, “distributes”, or “otherwise uses” is subject to a Class C misdemeanor. Furthermore, “Each image a person possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or otherwise uses in violation of this section is a separate offense. An offense under this section for the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image is a Class B misdemeanor.”
Clearly if passed into law, HB 912 would protect Texans from having their natural right to privacy taken advantage of and blatantly breached. Luckily for state residents, the measure made it a few steps closer to becoming law this month when it passed unanimously through the Texas House as well as Senate.
The House passed the ‘Texas Privacy Act’ on May 10th with a 128 to 11 vote and last Friday, the bill flew through the Senate with a 29 to 1 vote. Now it is up to Governor Rick Perry to either veto or sign the bill.