Our founding fathers erected ideologically high walls against warrantless searches, government intrusion, and invasions of personal privacy. New technologies, though, are able to peer over those walls and threaten long-held views of privacy.
House Bill 912 would ensure that law enforcement and emergency personnel would be able to legitimately use drones to pursue fleeing felons, engage in search-and-rescue missions, and resolve life-threatening situations. At the same time, the legislation would make it clear that drones cannot be used to gather information that would otherwise be illegal for a person to do absent the use of the drone.
The restrictions apply to government agents, but — just as importantly — to stalkers, business competitors, and the like.
Someone can certainly rent a helicopter or download satellite images of property, but drones allow for finer granular details and a more stealthy invasion of privacy.
Some legitimate concerns exist, particularly about creating new avenues for frivolous lawsuits. My understanding is that when the legislation is brought forward this week, perfecting amendments will be added to clean up the language.
Texans deserve to be secure in their property from warrantless searches and voyeuristic stalkers.