Government domestic surveillance drones are rapidly moving up on the civil liberties agenda. Now one city has become the first in the nation to address this threat head-on: Charlottesville, Va. As Infowars reports:
Today we learn that Charlottesville, Va has passed legislation to outlaw the use of drones, making it the first US city to do so.
In a 3-2 vote, city councilors passed the anti-drone resolution Monday, echoing the State level effort to halt the use of drones for the next two years. There will, in effect now be a ban on the craft entering Charlottesville city limits, prohibiting any city agency from using the technology.
The council will urge the Virginia General Assembly and Congress to keep drones out of local air space.
The City Council's resolution reads:
“WHEREAS, the rapid implementation of drone technology throughout the United States poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people, including the residents of Charlottesville; and
“WHEREAS, the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia have thus far failed to provide reasonable legal restrictions on the use of drones within the United States; and
“WHEREAS, police departments throughout the country have begun implementing drone technology absent any guidance or guidelines from law makers;
“NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, endorses the proposal for a two year moratorium on drones in the state of Virginia; and calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia to adopt legislation prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court, and precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being; and pledges to abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”
Further good news from the Commonwealth is that both houses of the General Assembly have passed legislation that would also impose a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by government officials and agencies.
As Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia noted in a press release:
“Without new laws, drone technology will be used in a manner that will violate the fundamental right to be free from unreasonable searches and will have a chilling effect on the First Amendment rights of Virginians to assemble peaceably and speak freely. Virginia is right to get ahead of the use of this technology to ensure our privacy rights and to prevent the Commonwealth from becoming a surveillance state in which every individual’s actions are tracked. The moratorium will allow us to work with law enforcement and other stakeholders to adopt reasonable regulations limiting the use of drones and assuring public participation in and oversight of their use.”
One hopes that other states and cities will soon follow this lead in protecting our civil liberties from further erosion.
Disclosure: I am a resident of Charlottesville.