A Small Victory for Freedom
- The GOP North Dakota legislature votes to protect the Bill of Rights while the Republicans in Congress vote endless funding for Big Brother spy programs.
(Tenth Amendment Center) – A North Dakota bill drastically restricting the use of drones by state and local law enforcement has been signed by the governor, thwarting a crucial aspect of the federal surveillance state.
House Bill 1328 (HB1328) requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before deploying a drone for surveillance purposes with only a few exceptions. The legislation also provides a blanket prohibition on the use of weaponized drones, on the use of unmanned aircraft for private surveillance, and on drone surveillance of persons exercising their right of free speech or assembly.
On April 2, the North Dakota Senate passed a slightly amended version of HB1328 29-17. The House concurred with the Amended version 78-14 on April 9. It was signed into law by Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday.
In addition to the prohibitions on drone use, the bill includes extensive reporting requirements for agencies deploying drones for legitimate purposes. Any images or data collected legally under the act that is not “accompanied by a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the images or data contain evidence of a crime, or are relevant to an ongoing investigation or trial” must be destroyed within 90 days.
The legislation does include some exceptions to the warrant requirement. Law enforcement can use a drone without a warrant for patrolling the border to prevent illegal entry of persons or illegal contraband, if law enforcement has a “reasonable suspicion that absent swift preventative action, there is an imminent danger to life or bodily harm,” during a natural disaster, or for some research purposes.
Even with the exceptions, HB1328 represents a vast improvement over the status quo in North Dakota – absolutely no restriction on the use of drones.
Impact on the Federal Surveillance State
Although HB1328 focuses exclusively on state and local drone use and does not apply directly federal agencies, the legislation would throw a high hurdle in front of some federal programs.
Much of the funding for drones at the state and local level comes from the federal government, in and of itself a constitutional violation. In return, federal agencies tap into the information gathered by state and local law enforcement through fusion centers and a federal program known as the information sharing environment.
According to its website, the ISE “provides analysts, operators, and investigators with information needed to enhance national security. These analysts, operators, and investigators… have mission needs to collaborate and share information with each other and with private sector partners and our foreign allies.” In other words, ISE serves as a conduit for the sharing of information gathered without a warrant.Read More . . . .