Gov. Inslee Vetoes Drone Restrictions
The Tacoma News-Tribune reported Friday Inslee shot down a bill that would have restricted police use of unmanned aerial devices, better known as drones.Inslee said he was alarmed by some clauses contained inside the bill that could restrict public access to information. As often occurs in government, there are often hidden clauses inside reasonable-sounding bills.
According to the Tribune,
The bill contains provisions that would prevent government agencies from disclosing personal information collected through drone surveillance.
It described personal information as 'all information... that describes, locates, or indexes anything about a person.'”
Several newspaper and media groups had objected to what they felt was a restriction in the free sharing of information, and felt it was an infringement on the rights of private citizens.
House Bill 2789 would have required a search warrant to merit its use, unless the situation was deemed dire or life-threatening.
Instead, Inslee says he will impose a 15-month moratorium on state agencies purchasing or utilizing drone technology. Despite the restricted information clause, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said they were satisfied with the final version of the measure, which passed easily through the state House and Senate.
Some legislators were surprised and disappointed by Inslee's actions, saying this means they will have to start all over at "ground zero" next legislative session.
We haven't often agreed with Inslee's stance on issues, but it appears he got this one right. Numerous citizens-rights and technology groups have warned about the use of drones becoming an invasion into private citizens affairs, and Inslee seems to be on board with that.