3D Robotics

New Hampshire considering aerial photography ban


FromAGBeat (via Hacker News)

New Hampshire bill proposes aerial photography ban

Neal Kurk (R), member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 1986 has recently sponsored HB 619-FN to make aerial photography illegal in their state, which many are considering a look into the future. States are currently struggling with how to deal with advances in drone technology, particularly mini-drones, fueled by fears not only that the federal government is using drones on U.S. soil, but are using them abroad not only to take out terrorists, but suspected terrorists, even if American.

Much media attention has been showered on the topic, bringing light to the full array of uses, not just the CIA’s implementation of the technologies. According to Fox News, the Federal Aviation Administration has already granted 327 licenses, and it projects as many as 10,000 licensed systems by 2017.

New Hampshire’s proposed aerial photography ban states the following:

"A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor 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."

Potential problems with this bill

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, or aerial photographers, rather against the government’s use of the devices.

The aerial photography ban is unclear as to the very specific non-threatening uses of aerial devices such as aerial real estate photography for listings, or if a homeowner is photographing their own home, and while it states that “This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects,” possibly implying that if no human is in any photo or video taken, it is acceptable.

Additionally, it is unclear the implications of this bill on existing Google maps or existing images that have been taken via aerial device, and videography does not seem to be clearly addressed in the bill.

Fines for violations of a bill that could spread to other states

Rep. Kurk proposes a fine for violating the aerial photography ban, costing $62.71 per case in fiscal year 2014, rising to $64.40 per case thereafter, with an estimated $10,000 burden on taxpayers should someone appeal, and of course the $35,000 per year prison cost per person that fails to pay and is arrested.

Real estate photographer Larry Lohrman said, “Based on the public discussion that I’ve seen on this subject, I’m going to go out on a limb and make a wild guess and predict that this is not going to be an isolated incident. My guess is that other states will be doing this too. Particularly since so many cities are resisting use of UAVs by law enforcement.”


The full bill is here.

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  • We still have our freedom of speech, and that means the freedom to voice our opinions against things like this bill.

    We don't end up in jail here for offending someone on Twitter (sup Europe)

  • Moderator
    So no police helicopters with cameras, no speeding tickets from planes. What a crazy State. What happened to "land of the free"?
  • This is a more extreme version of what is also going on with 3D printing technology; the large interests want the capability for themselves.  WE are the intended targets of these bans.

  • LOL, so progressive in USA. Next they will ban long poles and sticks in case someone tapes a camera to them and gets an elevated shot looking down. Then it will be helmet mounted cameras.

    I'm glad I live in Australia. Feel sorry for you guys.
  • Moderator

    Its the military contractors paying for lobbying and its working. There will be AP,just not you.

  • It reminds me of early Clintons' administration when president Clinton said on TV: "Internet is very dangerous for our kids".

    A week or two later president said on the same TV: "We must promote Internet as wide as possible as it is our kids' future".

    To all politicians: Get professional help on a subject!

    Once politicians get lobbied by big ass investors - they will change their mind almost immediately.

  • Just another liberal state struggling with its identity. Oregon, Washington, down to California...next will be Vermont...

  • In an effort to avoid a police state, they're introducing a bill to implement a blanket ban on aerial photography. Besides the obvious irony (sounds like an Orwellian society to me), this is how countries go backwards with regards to the rest of the world. One hopes (for the sake of people in the US trying to build an industry out of personal drones) that this stupidity doesn't catch on.

    Reports such as these make me happy I live in a progressive, technologically adept, relatively open society. Sure, it's led by stupid politicians with idiotic views, but thankfully most Australians are too apathetic to bother complaining when someone flies a drone over their home! ;)

  • Moderator

    How can all the full scale pilots/outfits not be all in an uproar?  This ban does not just apply to unmanned aircraft, it's all aerial photos... 

    This is all just Fear mongering.

  • T3

    Man, I'm ashamed to live in this state! I guess the "Live Free or Die" mantra is dying a quick death now as of late. I'm surprised something like this would come up where we don't even have a seat belt law!

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