WASHINGTON, June 12 -
Last week, just after suppertime in a neighborhood in McLean, Virginia, a 14-year-old girl ñ weíll call her Sarah ñ was jumping on a neighborís backyard trampoline. Suddenly, Sarah heard a noise and looked up, only to see a low-flying object hovering overhead. It was a small, remote-controlled flying object. It was a drone. It had a blinking red light coming from it.
The object hovered over her for about 10 minutes. She began to get real nervous and uneasy. So she jumped off the trampoline and ran home to tell her parents, but the flying object continued to follow her. She told her mother. So her mother walked outside into the street and observed the flying object. Suddenly, the object moved away into another neighborís backyard, where three other teenage girls were sitting in the pool. The small drone hovered over them momentarily, then it moved away.
The police were called. They arrived at the scene and told the citizens: ìSorry, thereís nothing we can do.î Mr. Speaker, this sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie ñ someone up to no good spying on teenage girls with a drone.
Mr. Speaker, drones are easy to find and easy to obtain. With a simple Google search, you will find out that one can buy a drone on eBay or go down the street and buy one at Radio Shack.
According to the FAA, the group that monitors issues permits for drones, by 2030, there will be 30,000 drones cruising American skies ñ looking, observing, filming, spying, and hovering over America. We will not know who they are, what theyíre up to, what theyíre looking at, or what their purpose is, whether itís permitted or really not permitted, whether itís lawful or unlawful. And we wonít know whoís flying those drones.
There are legitimate uses for government and private citizens for the use of drones, but a nosey neighbor or snooping government should not be able to spy on citizens without legal guidelines.
As technology changes, Congress has the responsibility to be proactive and protect the Fourth Amendment right of all citizens ñ ìThe right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.î Thus sayeth the Constitution.
Nowadays especially, Americans are concerned about their Fourth Amendment rights being taken away. Well, no kidding. The right of a reasonable expectation of privacy is a constitutional right. The general rule is snooping, spying, surveillance, or eavesdropping goes against the basic rights outlined in the Constitution. That is why I have introduced the Preserving American Privacy Act, along with Representative Zoe Lofgren from California.