Two significant pieces of legislation proposing to limit and/or control the use of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or “drone”) were passed by the California Legislature last week and now await the signature of Governor Jerry Brown.
This measure would impose requirements for the use of unmanned aircraft in excess of what is required for the use of manned aircraft. While we understand the privacy concerns that may arise from the misuse of unmanned aircraft, we believe that it is inappropriate to impose requirements beyond what is necessary under the Fourth Amendment . . . to protect against unreasonable searches and seizures.
In addition, AB 1327 would require law enforcement to destroy information within [six months] of being obtained by an unmanned aircraft system. Unfortunately, criminal investigations do not neatly fall into timelines. [This requirement] will severely hamper investigations for law enforcement.
access to information on factors that have no bearing on whether there is a greater public interest to be protected by withholding the record, [which] would make public access to drone information arbitrary. [¶] [The Publishers Association] strongly believes that this approach would create a dangerous precedent that would undermine the presumptive right of public access to information established by the [California Public Records Act] and the California Constitution.