On Wednesday, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Senate Bill 142, the bill that would ban drone flights within 350 feet above private property. Trespassing by humans is already illegal and the bill would ban drone trespass, too. The bill had passed California State Legislature in August. The Governor explained his refusal to sign the bill:
“This bill would enact trespass liability for anyone flying a drone less than 350 feet above real property… whether or not anyone’s privacy was violated by the flight.
Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination. This bill, however, while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action.”
Bill’s opponents are the tech industry and photojournalists who insist that there should not be a blanket prohibition, particularly in cases where nobody’s privacy is violated as a result of drone flight.
The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) stated:
“I am obviously disappointed that the Governor vetoed my drone privacy legislation, SB 142, but pleased the bill launched an important discussion on our privacy and private property rights and drones. Obviously, the public wants some action on this issue. I hope to continue this discussion and continue working on this issue next year.”