BY: Garry Rayno, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
(TNS) — An attempt to protect the business use of drones upended agreement on how best to regulate drones to protect the privacy of state residents.
The Senate version of House Bill 602 exempts business use from many of the prohibitions for private and government use of drones, and the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, wanted the provisions removed.
Under the bill, both government- and privately-owned drones would need permission to travel over private property.
Law enforcement would not be allowed to fly a drone below 250 feet over private property to collect information without the consent of the owner. Drone owners would be required to follow all federal guidelines within five miles of an airport, weapons of any kind would be prohibited, and they may not be used to harass or stalk anyone.
Kurk noted the business exemption would allow a licensed private eye to follow someone with an armed drone almost anywhere, but the Senate’s chief negotiator, Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, disagreed saying they had to be used for legitimate business purposes, noting they are not allowed to harass or stalk someone.
She said she had a number of meetings with business owners who were concerned the House version of the bill would impact their businesses.
“We want to make sure business is able to do business,” Carson said.
But Kurk argued while businesses do not have to abide by any of the prohibitions, there are no federal guidelines in place to prevent intrusions.
Conference committee member Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, who worked on the bill for the past three years, said the House was trying to balance the new technology against the privacy of residents. “We attempted to deal with the question of trespass in modern America,” Cushing said. “You can enter someone’s property in a way that was never done before.”
He said New Hampshire puts a premium on being left alone by government or someone else. “I don’t want Home Depot taking a picture of my lawn furniture,” Cushing said, “and then sending me something saying it’s time to replace it.”
The conference committee did not set a time to meet again.
This article was printed from: http://www.govtech.com/policy/New-Hampshire-Senate-Fails-to-Agree-on-Drone-Legislation.html