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Aerial photography ban amended, concerns continue

After concerns were raised over the initial aerial photography ban, amendments were made, but some continue to question the bill and its implications for other states, should they follow New Hampshire’s lead.


aerial photography ban

New Hampshire state aerial photography ban: questions

In a controversial bill (HB 619-FN) proposed in New Hampshire, any citizens taking aerial photographs could face misdemeanor charges and fines. The bill is due out of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on March 07, and while the New Hampshire State Legislature website still shows the active version as HB 619-FN, David Brooks at the Nausha Telegraph reports that version HB 619-FH is under consideration with some key differences from the earlier version. Click to tweet.

While the bill is still titled as “prohibiting images of a person’s residence to be taken from the air,” both versions are seen by most as a reaction to the Federal Aviation Administration already granting 327 aerial drone licenses, and it projects as many as 10,000 licensed systems by 2017.

Details of the updated bill

Brooks reports that HB 619-FN “prohibits, with limited exceptions, the use of droned by state agencies and individuals,” penalizing violations. Additionally, the bill says that “no government or person shall own or use a drone that is equipped with a bullet, laser-ray or… any kind of lethal or non-lethal weapon,” including for the purpose of hunting of animals.

The bill would allow the use of a drone with a warrant, but that any unrelated information gathered must be destroyed within 24 hours. After the initial hearing regarding the bill, concerns mounted as airspace is federally regulated, so it remains unclear exactly what the bill would regulate.

Since the updated bill appears to primarily address drones rather than camera-carrying aerial devices, privacy concerns continue and industry insiders tell AGBeat that they believe there is a great deal of subjectivity in the bill, which is disconcerting.

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  1. Christopher Jay Campbell

    March 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    This is an unconstitutional restraint of freedom of expression. If photos cannot be taken from the air, then they can be prohibited anywhere else, too — including tourist spots, businesses, and anywhere else people or man-made structures are visible. It taking pictures of houses from the air is illegal, why should it be considered less invasive to take pictures of the same house from the ground or a cherry picker?

  2. Jim Carroll

    March 12, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I contacted Rep Kurk, (being an FPV pilot, and wanting to offer him a hands-on demo so the reality of it all might replace the fears) and received a nice response. It now targets only UAS operators who’s cameras can recognize individuals on the ground. A GoPro without a zoom lens should be safe. I’m looking forward to seeing the amended text for myself.

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