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Published on Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Governor’s Drone Task Force Sees Draft Legislation

Governor’s Inslee’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or better known as drones, Task Force convened on November 10, to review a first draft of proposed legislation slated for the 2015 legislative session.

The UAS Task Force was created earlier this year after Governor Inslee vetoed EHB 2789, an act relating to technology-enhanced government surveillance. The Governor expressed concern around the use of this new technology, and committed his office to working toward establishing guidelines and standards for the use, collection, disclosure, and retention of information obtained by drones. Since April, the UAS Task Force has met on four separate occasions in Olympia to examine the issue.

This last week, the Task Force convened to discuss draft legislation the Governor’s Office put forward. Among its provisions, the draft establishes guidelines and policies all public agencies are to follow when procuring and using drone technology. This includes public notice detailing the intended use of the UAS, the policies in place detailing what categories of information the agency will collect, the establishment of guidelines for minimizing the collection of unintended information, and the establishment of policies and procedures that will protect the information gained and prevent unauthorized access. The bill also outlines how an agency must deal with the collection of inadvertent or unintentional information, specifically, if this information were to result in the criminal or civil prosecution of an individual. Finally, the draft legislation outlines when and how law enforcement agencies may procure and use UAS. The legislation does not address the private use of drone technology.

A great deal of discussion ensued as a result of the draft, chiefly around privacy and questions as to whether the bill goes far enough in its protection of citizens. Staff to the Governor are asking for further feedback so that they can incorporate and redraft legislation that appropriately reflects the concerns of the task force. No further formal meetings are planned for the group, but many members expressed the need to meet one final time before a final bill is drafted.

AWC will continue to monitor the efforts of the task force, and will report on any new developments.

Categories: Law & justice