Virginia Launches State Ban of Drones

With overwhelming bipartisan support, the Virginia General Assembly has become the first state to ban the domestic use of drones.  And the dominoes have begun to fall.

Nearly 43 states have enacted or plan to enact anti-“drone” laws this year.

In Florida, for example, the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” (“FUSA”) will go into effect on July 1, 2013. The FUSA prohibits law enforcement agencies from using remotely controlled aircraft to gather “evidence or other information.” Judges in criminal proceedings will not be allowed to admit any information obtained or collected from “drones” into evidence, and private litigants will have the right to sue in civil court “to obtain all appropriate relief in order to prevent or remedy a violation.”

What the FUSA does to promote privacy or security is not clear in this context and many officials in law enforcement disagree with a blanket prohibition on an important surveillance gathering asset.