Berkeley to consider banning drones

Josh Peterson Contributor
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City officials in Berkeley, California are expected to consider on Tuesday a ban on law enforcement surveillance drone flights over the city, potentially putting the city in direct conflict with federal regulations.

Despite local law enforcement having expressed little to no interest in purchasing or using drones, the proposal would ban the purchase and use of drones by local law enforcement, and it would also create a “No Drone Zone” in the airspace above the city, reported The Oakland Tribune Monday.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration, however, said that not only is a city banning the use of drones in its airspace is unheard of, but that “city, county and state do not have legal jurisdiction to above the surface”, telling the Oakland Tribune that jurisdiction “falls solely to the FAA.”

A recent investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based digital civil liberties group, revealed the extensive range and capability of domestic drones used by federal, state and local officials.

It also explored the U.S. military’s own domestic use of drones.

While the FAA demonstrated concerns about drone safety, EFF’s Jennifer Lynch wrote, she said that the records EFF obtained, “do not show that the FAA had any concerns about drone flights’ impact on privacy and civil liberties.”

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