There is never a good reason for writing hasty, confusing legislation likely to be fraught with unintended consequences. Certainly, fear of government drones is no excuse.
The Legislature this past session passed HB 2789 to make it very difficult to obtain or use information from unmanned aircraft equipped with an “extraordinary sensing device,” aka a drone. The intent is to maintain strict control of the use of drones for law enforcement or regulation, and to protect our privacy from prying techno eyes in the sky. Only government, not private use of drones is affected. This might be fine, but in the process the law makes it nearly impossible to use drones when they might be safe and effective. It also expands the definition of “personal information” to such a degree that anything obtained from a drone would be a government secret, and many more public records might be made undisclosable if held to the same standard. “ ‘Personal information’ means all information that describes, locates, or indexes anything about a person ... ,” and is not disclosable, says the law. Anything about a person. Perhaps state agencies should delete their Google Earth bookmarks.