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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 24, 2016

2/21/2013 2:15:00 PM
Will Arizona see aerial drones in the sky?

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Fearing new intrusions into privacy, two state legislators are moving to restrict how the aerial drones that have become popular in the Middle East can be used in the skies over Arizona.

Two proposals set for committee debate Wednesday would prohibit state and local law enforcement from using the unmanned aerial aircraft to gather evidence without first getting a search warrant. And both measures say that any evidence they do gather without that warrant is inadmissible in civil or criminal proceedings.

There are some technical differences, including exceptions.

But the sponsors of both say they fear this eye-in-the-sky technology is running far ahead of Arizona's existing privacy laws.

Rep. Jeff Dial, R-Chandler, sponsor of one of the measures, said many of his constituents are familiar with the drones, either personally or through the news, because of their use in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But the issue took on new urgency when the Federal Aviation Administration announced earlier this month it intends to create six sites around the country to test drones. That literally brought the issue home.

In fact, Rep. Tom Forese, R-Chandler, is sponsoring a measure awaiting House floor action to push to have Arizona chosen as one of the locations.

But Forese, the sponsor of the other privacy measure, said there needs to be an understanding that with the benefits of the drones come risks.

"On one hand you have economic development,' he said.

"We're talking about millions of dollars and thousands of jobs,' Forese explained, with the FAA believing that unmanned aircraft could be the future of aviation in this country.

"On the other hand, you have significant threats to our privacy,' he said.

"I take them very seriously,' Forese continued. "We're talking about the potential to be searched without a warrant,' he said, with police "able to see into your back yard.'

His proposal, HB 2269, would allow police to use drones without a warrant in cases where the Department of Homeland Security determines there is "credible intelligence' of a high risk of a terrorist attack by a specific individual or organization. And the aircraft could be launched in cases where "swift action is needed' to prevent imminent danger to life or serious damage of property, forestall the imminent escape of a suspect or prevent the destruction of evidence.

Forese said he is keenly aware of the bid by the state to become a drone test site, saying he is part of the "Red Team' at the Arizona Commerce Authority which tries to get all sorts of training and testing programs located here. And Forese said drones could prove useful in securing the border.

But he said legislators need to take a closer look at other uses that could intrude on individual privacy.

"Technology always brings these kinds of concerns with it,' Forese said.

Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Flagstaff, said his worries go beyond misuse by police.

"I actually feel that I have a greater threat from somebody running down to Fry's Electronics and buying a $300 video helicopter and flying around my house ... than having Big Brother peeping overhead,' he said. "But I think both need to be addressed.'

At the moment, though, HB 2269 addresses only limiting law enforcement use of the drones.

That, however, is not the case with Dial's proposal. Aside from restrictions on police, HB 2574 would make it illegal for any individual to use a drone "to monitor other persons inside their homes or places of worship or within the closed confines of their property.'

House Majority Leader David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said Arizona needs to convince the federal government of the state's suitability for drone testing. He said the state has plenty of open airspace in Southern Arizona, allowing the aircraft to be operated from Fort Huachuca all the way to Yuma.

But Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, warned colleagues against letting their desire for economic development overwhelm the constitutional rights of Arizonans.

"I know we're desperate for jobs,' she said. "But I would caution (using) that as our underlying motivation for doing something that in the future would compromise our civil liberties for the sake of money.'

Gowan, however, said legislators need to understand that drones, by themselves, do not mean an automatic intrusion into privacy. He noted there already are lots of aircraft in the skies.

"We could do that right now if we wanted to take pictures of back yards,' he said.

Dial conceded the point.

"I think the difference is the camera,' he said, indiscriminately taking pictures or video.

Forese said it is up to legislators to be thinking about the impacts of these drones before they're already flying the skies of Arizona.

"Part of our job is to look into these things very, very carefully,' he said. "I think we need to make sure we strike the right balance.'

The FAA action follows a year-old Congressional mandate to find sites to test drones for military and civilian use. The ultimate goal is to allow drones into U.S. airspace currently limited to manned aircraft by 2015.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Article comment by: Country Boy

lol... oh silly silly me I forgot .... there is only one satellite in space...

Yep you are correct. sorry for my ignorance I feel so much better with your vast knowledge.

Ya not so much..
little FYI.
Most NSA, CIA, and NASA satellites are under private contracts not military.

Ya your right its not the movies.

yep you fall in the class of "low information types"

looking forward to your next post!

Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Article comment by: Nope, didn't miss a thing . . .

You already have given up your rights . . . did you not see the article of all the rights you have lost since 9/11? Or you just don't know how to cut and paste a URL?

Apparently, you were not paying attention . . .

The satellite has to be in the area where you want to zoom in . . . only "takes a second" you say? You do know that satellites ORBIT? That means they are constantly MOVING. What if it is over China or the Middle East? And they don't all belong to the military. Yes I know there are many of them . . . but this isn't the movies, there are technical and logistical limitations.

Posted: Monday, February 25, 2013
Article comment by: Country Boy

@ Maybe I missed something??
Obviously you did!!!

I have no intentions of giving up any rights, do tell were you got that idea?

As far as satellites go, sorry but it takes less then a second for target acquisition and to zoom in on the target real time... I've seen it first hand.
And just to help you out with your reading skills I will point out how I started my comment on drones. Just to clarify again,
Ya I don't like them over national skies"

Not sure why you bring up airports however just an FYI, I don't fly commercial airlines so I cant help ya on your airport issues.

If your really worried about it look into the ability to turn your cell/smart phones video camera and sound remotely, I for one would be a little more worried about that issue.

Posted: Sunday, February 24, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

The drones are the least of our problems.Cell
towers use electromagnet radiation to transmitt
signalsThe Institute of Pharmacology,Toxicology and Scientific Institute of Electronics and Radar at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces
Stated in their studies that the Conspicuous behavior and abnormalities of their cattle near
Transmitting towers caused milk decrease and
in some cases death.
When a tower is overloaded by to many phones
they must build another .We have over 200,000
already.Do the math.Make informed decisions
when you put electromagnet radiation to your
ears.OR NOT

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

Obama says he does not THINK he will use drones against citizens in this country… boy am I relieved,
but he has been known to change his mind. Those people who oppose him and his ideology have already been called domestic terrorists.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: slater slater

Save your lead from your car batteries and put
them on your roof.This will prevent the Drones
from shooting infared through your roof to watch what you do in your home.
Plastic over your marker plate to reflect beams etc.
Looks like Big Brother is totally real and a group in DC,Florida etc are flying these Drones
from a desk.(hope the get sores on their azz)

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Maybe I missed something

@Country Boy

You are welcome to give up all your rights to the government. Maybe you like those guys at airports feeling your junk, but many of us do not.

You cannot compare satellites and google earth to a drone.

Google earth is not what is happening 'right now' technology. It shows my backyard from YEARS ago when I had a trampoline. If there was someone sunbathing in my backyard when they took the picture it would not be apparent.

It takes a lot for a satellite to focus on that gnat and it is expensive, you think they are looking in the backyards of 230,000,000 Americans every minute of the day?

Will a drone be in my backyard every minute of the day? No, but it sure is an invasion of my privacy to be spied on in my own yard. There is technology to see into your home too.

It is time to say NO, you will not take any more of my rights away and I want all the Constitutional Rights I had before 9/11 restored!

Here is a list:

If you think your 'safety' is more important than your rights, think again!

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Gaia Gurl

Who said they were MIND CONTROL chemicals?

What do you THINK flouride is?

It is a waste product of big industry, someone got smart and marketed it for tooth decay prevention . . . too bad it is POISEN.

Look it up . . .

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Country Boy

auntie M , auntie M,
The sky is falling.
Oh my Toto they are dropping mind control chemicals on us with all these contrails!!!

Ya I don't like them over national skies but at the end of the day anyone ever heard of satellites? Ya those things up in space that have been around for many years, They have technology and have had it for years that can basically zoom in on a knat.

Ever seen google earth? Mapquest etc? gee don't ya think since the general public has such access that the local state and fedes don't have 10,000 time better and have since way back.

Everyone needs to stop feeding the fear machine.

Oh and one last thought to go with already established technology, That little thing called the Patriot act!!!!!
If they wanna they will!!! drones or no drones.
IF your not doing nothing wrong then they got nothing to look at goof balls and if ya are well then they have most likely already seen ya for years.

Have a great Day.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: drones on the home..really? .

finally one thing the liberals and the tea party can agree on.... a smart meter hoax.

liberals yearn for a more efficient and greener electrical grid... thus you get a smart meter.

now you have the tea party and liberal fired up because they will be used to spy on you or bombard you with micro-waves...

good lord its crazy time!

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013

Smart meters are coming in December. These will collect more data on you than drones and no guarantees to prevent hackers accessing it too. Full of untested Microwave Radiation pulsing through your copper wires. Call APS and get on the Opt out list. Tell your neighbors. Hold on to your analog meter. Call your Supervisor and then call the AZ Corperation Commission. While you have a chance.

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: really... contrail conspiracies now? .

those contrails are water vapor... pretty simple.

not mind control chemicals...

some folks just have too much free time...


Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

How could they not have foreseen government drones?

Do we need to Amend the Constitution?

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Dave Rocker

Texas shot an 'eye in the sky', we will up here in Cottonwood, too

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2013
Article comment by: Barbara McDowell

I am definitely against all these drones. Our privacy is being threatened. Another big concern is what are all those contrails criss-crossing the skies? I asked someone recently and the reply was, "You don't want to know!" Can someone tell me what it is that I don't want to know?

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