Establishes the "protect our privacy (POP) act" to impose limitations on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes; prohibits the use of drones by law enforcement at concerts, protests, demonstrations, or other actions protected by the first amendment and requires a search warrant prior to using a drone for law enforcement purposes.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A3311
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to imposing limita-
tions on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This legislation will impose limitations on the use of drones for law
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1: The civil rights law is amended by adding a new section 52-b.
Section 2: This act shall take effect immediately.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORIGINAL AND AMENDED VERSION
In recent years, drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) have entered
civilian life. While drones are useful to regular people, corporations,
and government agencies, they can also harm people's privacy if proper
limits are not in place. Police surveillance of protests already produc-
es a chilling effect amongst the public who want to voice their concerns
over government abuse and social injustice. The use of drones in public
spaces and without a warrant will only further intensify the intim-
idation of the public and erode protected first amendment speech.
Law enforcement's employment of drones, which can access information
where privacy would reasonably be expected (filming through a window,
thermal imaging, etc.), for any alleged criminal activity should require
a warrant obtained from a judge. Any information or video obtained
through this process should be made available to the public through a
drone disclosure process.
Our legislation mandates law enforcement and other government agencies
to obtain a search warrant before deploying a drone. Also, it bans the
indiscriminate use of drones at concerts, protests, demonstrations, or
other actions protected by the first amendment. Additionally, our
legislation prohibits drones from utilizing facial recognition technolo-
gy, which has proven inaccurate and discriminatory in the targeting of
black and brown communities.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately upon passage.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
January 22, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. KIM, SIMON, TAYLOR -- read once and referred to
the Committee on Governmental Operations
AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to imposing limita-
tions on the use of drones for law enforcement purposes
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "protect
2 our privacy (POP) act".
3 § 2. The civil rights law is amended by adding a new section 52-d to
4 read as follows:
5 § 52-d. Limitations on the use of drones; law enforcement purposes. 1.
6 The use of drones to observe, monitor, document, record, investigate, or
7 collect data by law enforcement at concerts, protests, demonstrations,
8 or other actions protected by the first amendment to the United States
9 Constitution or sections eight and nine of article one of the state
10 constitution is prohibited.
11 2. People have a reasonable expectation of privacy and a constitu-
12 tional right to be free from warrantless observation, monitoring,
13 documentation, recording, or investigation by a drone. A search
14 warrant, issued upon a finding of probable cause, shall be required for
15 any use of drones for law enforcement purposes that is not specifically
16 prohibited by subdivision one of this section. A search warrant cannot
17 permit the use of drones for the purposeful or incidental observation,
18 documentation, recording, investigation, or collection of data by law
19 enforcement at concerts, protests, demonstrations, or other actions
20 protected by the first amendment to the United States Constitution or
21 sections eight and nine of article one of the state constitution.
22 3. The use for law enforcement purposes of any drone owned,
23 controlled, or maintained by a private company, private individual, or
24 other government agency shall be subject to the provisions of subdivi-
25 sions one and two of this section. A search warrant, issued upon a find-
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 3311 2
1 ing of probable cause, shall be required for law enforcement to obtain
2 any data or information obtained by a drone that is owned, controlled,
3 or maintained by a private company, private individual, or other govern-
4 ment agency. A search warrant cannot authorize obtaining any data or
5 information relating to the purposeful or incidental observation,
6 documentation, recording, investigation, or collection of data at
7 concerts, protests, demonstrations, or other actions protected by the
8 first amendment to the United States Constitution or sections eight and
9 nine of article one of the state constitution except in the investi-
10 gation or prosecution for violations of subdivisions one or two of this
12 4. Law enforcement is prohibited from using drones equipped with
13 facial recognition software or using facial recognition on video or
14 images obtained or created by a drone, including videos or images
15 obtained or created by drones owned, controlled, or maintained by a
16 private company, a private individual, or other government agency. This
17 section shall retroactively apply to videos or images obtained or
18 created by drones prior to the effective date of this section.
19 5. Drones equipped with devices used for crowd control purposes or any
20 lethal or non-lethal weapons are prohibited.
21 6. Data or information obtained by drones and within the control of
22 any government agency or in the possession of a private company or indi-
23 vidual on behalf of any government agency shall be subject to release
24 under the freedom of information law, provided that all personal identi-
25 fying information, except for that of law enforcement personnel acting
26 within their official responsibilities or performing an official func-
27 tion, shall be redacted prior to such release.
28 7. All data or information obtained by the use of drones for law
29 enforcement purposes that are not part of an ongoing criminal investi-
30 gation or proceeding shall be destroyed in one year or less, absent a
31 subpoena or court order. Data or information not destroyed in one year
32 or less pursuant to a subpoena or court order and that is within the
33 control of any government agency or in the possession of a private
34 company or individual on behalf of any government agency shall be
35 destroyed once the proceedings or investigations that the subpoena or
36 court order related to have ended.
37 8. As used in this section:
38 a. "Drone" means an aerial vehicle or a balloon float or other device
39 that can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely.
40 b. "Law enforcement" means a lawfully established state or local
41 public agency that is responsible for the prevention and detection of
42 crime, the enforcement of local government codes and the enforcement of
43 penal, traffic, regulatory, game or controlled substance laws and
44 includes an agent of the law enforcement agency.
45 c. "Search warrant" means a search warrant as defined in section
46 690.05 of the criminal procedure law.
47 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.