Florida lawmakers seek regulations on drone technology

Bill bans taking pictures of private properties, people without consent


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lawmakers are grappling with crafting regulations on unmanned aerial vehicles or drones with mixed reactions from users.

The bill provides exemptions for law enforcement and other state licensed businesses or professions. However, users will point out that there is currently no state licensing procedures for drones.

Drone technology is taking off around the state. Gerald Tookes is an avid flyer. Sometimes he'll use his drone to get different angles on photos he takes of his friends and family.

"Of course, one of the cool things you can always do is a selfie," Tookes said.

But drone photos caused some lawmakers to worry in 2015. This past legislative session lawmakers said they didn't want to stand in the way of technology, but they did have privacy concerns.

A bill that was signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott late Thursday evening will ban taking pictures of private properties or people without consent.

"There is a learning curve to get people to understand what it is because of privacy concerns, libertarian concerns, and always Big Brother watching," said Tookes.

Drone enthusiast Rob Hall said the wording can put people like him at risk.

"If I go just go up in my backyard, and I happen to be flying around testing my camera, and I point in the general direction of one of my neighbors, I could be held accountable for invading their privacy, even though I'm not invading their privacy, and it's just incidental," Hall said.

Tookes said with state and federal regulation, it will come down to one thing for hobbyists.

"They can be a really cool tool to have for any kind of production, but as they always say just fly responsibly," said Tookes.

The law will take effect July 1.