Maryland State Delegate Democrat Aruna Miller, who represents parts of Germantown from the 15th District, is sponsoring legislation to protect citizens from the unauthorized use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, also known as drones surveillance.
The rapid development of Unmanned Aircraft Systems technology over the past several years has decreased the price and accessibility of drone technology. Small portable UAS equipped with GPS systems and cameras are now available for consumer purchase with price points hovering just over one thousand dollars.
Miller indicated, “While the emergence of this technology is exciting and holds great promise, it also raises significant concerns about its potential use for unauthorized surveillance on an individual’s privacy.”
The bill (HB 620) prevents state agencies from conducting surveillance using drones without first obtaining a warrant. There are exceptions in the bill for drone use during emergency response situations and for search and rescue. The bill further makes it illegal for private citizens to use drones to eavesdrop on their neighbors.
“It’s my hope that with the commonsense measures provided in this bill, citizens will be able to enjoy the benefits that drone technology can provide with the peace of mind that their privacy is not being infringed upon,” Miller said.
Testimony on the bill will be heard by the House Judiciary Committee March 17 at 1:00 pm Miller from Montgomery County represents the 15th District which includes the areas of Potomac, Germantown, Poolesville, Bethesda, and Clarksburg.
Photo by Christopher Michael.