Privacy SOS

Take action now to support drone privacy legislation


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If you haven't already, watch this hilarious/terrifying clip produced by the New York Times on the coming surveillance drone invasion of the USA. Seattle artist Drew Christie created the video for the Times.

The video is pretty funny, but domestic surveillance drones are no laughing matter. Luckily, the ACLU of Massachusetts and like-minded legislators are prepared. 
Drones are stealth aerial surveillance machines.  They are flown remotely, and are equipped with powerful video cameras and other technologies to monitor people and activity on the ground. As you probably know, they can also be used to kill. Drones can be as big as a small plane or as small as a fly.
And they are coming to Massachusetts.
The Boston Globe has reported that the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council, a regional SWAT team of more than 40 police departments in the southern suburbs of Boston, has applied to the FAA for permission to use a drone.  This is just the beginning.
We need basic regulation to ensure safety and privacy in Massachusetts. 
  • Ban the use of weaponized drones in Massachusetts.
  • Permit the use of drones only in limited circumstances —
    • To execute a warrant;
    • For purposes other than criminal law enforcement, as long as the information cannot be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding or investigation, or used for any intelligence purpose; and
    • In emergencies when a threat to human life or safety is imminent.

Drones should never: use biometric matching technology, except to identify the subject of a warrant; collect data on other people who are not the subject of the warrant; or monitor people’s lawful First Amendment activities.  And to make sure drone use doesn’t “fly under the radar,” state courts should publicly report to the legislature, on an annual basis, about warrants authorizing drone use in the Commonwealth.

Let’s deal with these issues before they get out of hand.  Now is the time to ensure friendly skies over Massachusetts and protect our privacy from surveillance drones.  
Take action now, and spread the word through all your networks:

Contact your state senator and state representative today (State House switchboard: 617-722-2000) and urge them to support the Drone Privacy Act!

In the Senate, the bill number is SB 1664; the lead sponsor is Sen. Robert Hedlund (R). In the House of Representatives, the bill number is HB 1357; the lead sponsor is Rep. Colleen Garry (D). 
Don't live in Massachusetts? A number of other states are also considering legislation. Check this list to see if your state has a bill, and then take action to support it.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.