March 20, 2014 | By Parker Higgins

EFF Urges Washington to Pass Drone Bill

EFF has delivered a letter to Washington Governor Jay Inslee today, urging him to sign into law EHB 2789 to establish a reasonable set of rules under which drones may be operated in the state. The bill, which has already passed through the state House and Senate, creates a requirement for law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants in most cases, and additionaly sets up a data minimization framework and short retention limit. From our letter to the governor:

As the power of high-tech surveillance gear increases, and the cost of deploying and using that gear decreases, legal limits must be established to keep law enforcement capabilities in line with people's reasonable expectations of privacy. EHB 2789's warrant requirements, data minimization framework, and retention limits serve that purpose.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Washington is one of 43 states to introduce legislation pertaining to domestic drones. If the governor signs this bill into law, the state will be the 14th state to enact such legislation.

EFF has previously consulted with state and federal legislators on what sensible drone policy must include, and last June delivered a set of guidelines to the Aerospace States Association. There is still room for improvement at the margins, but by and large, Washington's EHB 2789 is an encouraging example of how effective drone legislation can be.

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