A bill preventing paparazzi from targeting celebrities with camera-equipped drones has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, just days after he was criticized for shooting down a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant to use a drone.
The law, approved on Tuesday, bans the use of a drone to capture images and record voices of people who did not give their permission for it.
The bill’s author, Ed Chau, applauded the governor for keeping the state’s legislation abreast with modern technology.
“As technology continues to advance and new robotic-like devices become more affordable for the general public, the possibility of an individual’s privacy being invaded substantially increases,” he said, as cited by AFP.
Earlier, Sean Burke, founder of the Paparazzi Reform Initiative, campaigning for stronger privacy laws, said drones were a “huge privacy concern.”
The National Press Photographers Association, however, opposed the bill, arguing it could restrict journalists’ ability to gather news.
“We believe that there are appropriate laws in place to deal with these kinds of issues, whether it’s trespassing, stalking or harassment,” the association’s General Counsel Mickey Osterreicher said, as cited by the Orange County Register. “To single out what is ostensibly a First Amendment-protected activity becomes problematic. There’s a clear distinction between having a reasonable expectation of privacy in your own home and being out in public. There are enough measures on the books to deal with that without having to draft one of these laws.”
Days before restricting drone use for paparazzi, Brown granted more freedom of drone use to the state’s police.
On Sunday, the governor vetoed the Drone Accountability Act, which would have required police agencies to obtain a warrant before using an unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, for surveillance.
One of that act’s authors, Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, commented on the veto by saying that it shows “the era of government surveillance continues.”