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Currently Viewing Posts Tagged Senator Frank Ruff

Limits on Drones for Private Use?



Some stories of technology just really get your attention. Maybe like an Eli Manning getting tackled kind of  attention. Yes, real attention.

Okay, I admit it, I can’t take my eyes off this picture. Maybe I will just include it in every blog. It just gets me… but I digress! Like the Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial, “Game day bucket go boom”.

It’s no surprise that the  Apple rumor is already suggesting that they are coming out with iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.  That doesn’t cause the “Eli look”. But to move from my stream of consciousness detour, let’s head to the current session at the Virginia General Assembly.

Pilot Online is reporting that a Virginia state Senator is pushing legislation that would take aim at unmanned non-governmental “drone” aircraft flying over private property or just plain snooping. This legislator says “Nay Nay!”. His legislation to limit private technology came to state Senator Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg County) when he read  a news story about an animal-rights group that was caught flying a small remote- controlled little plane equipped with a tiny camera.

It was flying over a hunt club in Pennsylvania and captured the images of captive pigeons being released in the air and then shot down by waiting “hunters”.  Then, the hunters saw the little drone plane and shot it down, like one of those pigeons. Game day plane go boom! (see, everything does tie in, even my mental wandering)


There are no known stories of  airborne private drones flying over any Virginia hunters, but Senator Ruff wants to make sure to keep that from ever happening. His Senate bill (SB-954) would outlaw “the use of a drone by a private person to monitor and photograph persons lawfully hunting on private property, when the drone is used by a private person without the permission of the landowner”.

The bill won unanimous approval in the House Agriculture, Conservation and Natural committee on Thursday. Now, it is being forwarded to the Courts of Justice Committee to debate the broader issue of prohibiting aerial photography and observation and whether that has a Constitutional protection. The issue is really to consider how far a property owner can expect privacy. If the bill is construed too broadly, it could effect commercial aerial photography and data gathering.

I expect that Google is going to weigh in on this bill. This could potentially have impact on their satellite maps. Plus, this really reaches into whether a landowner has a reasonable expectation of privacy that could even extend into air space and into outer space.

As I type those thoughts out, I believe that this legislator, with an intent to protect hunters against groups like PETA; really is going to end up facing a whole lot of opposition from other groups and services that could be impacted. Plus, maybe the hunters could even use the drones to force wildlife to their property. Just a thought!

Of course, that brings us to pic o’ day and a bit of dentistry:

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