Cyber & Technology

Will Berkeley Become A Drone-Free Zone?

By Benjamin Wittes
Friday, December 28, 2012, 10:13 AM

From the vanguard of the revolution, reports Forbes, comes this very important effort to prevent our robot overlords from spying on us:

The city of Berkeley, Calif., this week took the first steps toward a ban on drones as the autonomous aircraft deployed in the war on terrorism are being embraced for local law enforcement.

The debate over creating a No Drone Zone in this famously left-wing stronghold is likely to be repeated across the U.S. as ever-smaller drones equipped with high-definition cameras and sensors take to the skies with the ability to collect vast amounts of data on citizens.

While the Federal Aviation Administration is drafting rules for the deployment of drones in domestic airspace the use of drones to collect information remains largely unregulated.

On Tuesday, the Berkeley City Council considered a resolution drafted by the city’s Peace and Justice Commission that would create an ordinance to ban the use of drones in Berkeley airspace and bar the police department and any other municipal agency from deploying drones. An exemption would be made for hobbyists as long as their drones are flown in non-urban areas and don’t carry cameras. Violators could be fined $10,000 and sentenced to a year in prison.

(Hat Tip: Air Force General Counsel Blog)