US: A bill currently before the New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety committee would “prohibit images of a person’s residence to be taken from the air by a satellite, drone, or any device not supported by the ground.”
The bill was sponsored by Representatives Neal Kurk, a Republican representing the Hillsborough region of the state.
The text of the bill states that “A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanour if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, “dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.”
But the next paragraph of the bill exempts “lawful activities of law enforcement personnel.” Also excluded from the law are “governmental agencies or other entities, public or private, who, in the course and scope of their employment and supported by articulable suspicion, attempt to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of a person during an investigation, surveillance, or monitoring of conduct to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity, the suspected violation of any administrative rule or regulation, a suspected fraudulent insurance claim, or any other suspected fraudulent conduct or activity involving a violation of law, or pattern of business practices adversely affecting the public health or safety.”
The bill is still in committee, and in most state legislatures, that is where many bills go to die. The bill”s listing on the New Hampshire legislature”s website does not list any co-sponsors, nor does there appear to be a companion bill in the state”s Senate.
Although the bill seeks to protect residents from being spied on or documented, it very clearly excludes government officials who may use drones for official business. Most protests against drones are not against hobbyists, Google Maps satellites, commercial flights, the film industry, or aerial photographers, rather against the government’s use of the devices.