CAPITAL NY: BALL MAKES DRONE REGULATION A FINAL PRIORITY

 

    By Jessica Alaimo

    ALBANY—One of State Sen. Greg Ball’s final legislative priorities is to make sure unmanned drones are friendly players in New York’s airspace.

    Ball submitted a bill this week outlining when it is and isn’t OK for a satellite or an unmanned aerial vehicle to take images of people on private property, and makes it a crime to illegally use said drones—or use them to fire, “launch or transmit an electronic signal or kinetic projectile” in New York’s airspace.

    The bill will be heard in the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Wednesday, though there is currently no Assembly companion bill.

    Ball, a Republican, announced last week that he would not seek another term in the Senate.

    Regulating the activities of unmanned aircrafts is a trend in state legislatures—13 states had enacted laws similar to Ball’s proposal in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    “This is an amazing piece of technology that will change the way we operate on a daily basis. While this technology presents vast benefits, we must ensure that we protect the public safety and privacy of our residents. Formulating the proper legislation and regulations now will be critical in protecting our rights and freedoms,” Ball said in a statement.

    In his bill, he lists the following as acceptable uses for satellites or drones to take images and recordings: On behalf of an institution of higher education; for military or homeland security uses; for geographical or land surveys; to plan construction or development on utilities, communication systems, parks, transportation systems, or similar functions; for public information or news broadcasts; for climate or weather studies; for wildlife or agriculture studies; disaster recovery; to research or build more satellites or drones.

    Any unauthorized uses would be considered crimes.

    “The legislation I am introducing will allow for the limited commercial use of these unmanned aircraft systems putting New York State at the forefront of this job creating technology, while also creating very specific rules and regulations to keep New Yorkers safe and their privacy secure.” (ARTICLE)