Privacy Laws A Concern As Oklahoma Applies To Be Drone Test Site - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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Privacy Laws A Concern As Oklahoma Applies To Be FAA Drone Test Site

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With a robust industry for unmanned aircraft systems, state funded universities and forts already have drone development relationships with the Department of Homeland Security. With a robust industry for unmanned aircraft systems, state funded universities and forts already have drone development relationships with the Department of Homeland Security.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

House Bill 1556 was meant to be passed almost a year ago. But as Oklahoma inches toward another step in drone development, privacy laws remain a step behind.

"The private sector, there are plenty of rules. Where the rules aren't in place are to protect the citizens of Oklahoma from their own government," said ACLU Executive Director Ryan Kiesal.

With a robust industry for unmanned aircraft systems, state funded universities and forts already have drone development relationships with the Department of Homeland Security.

A release from Gov. Mary Fallin's office stated, "The state is seeking to be an FAA test site because the FAA is one way the state can continue this forward momentum. If selected it could mean the creation of hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investment."

While the development and use of drone only increases in Oklahoma, privacy laws are still nonexistent. So in February, Rep. Wesselhoft drafted house bill 1556, but then that bill was put on hold by the governor's office because of the state's application with the FAA.

"I disagree with that, but out of respect for the governor I held the bill up," said Wesselhoft.

In a private email obtained by News 9, Secretary of Science and Technology Dr. Stephen McKeever expressed concern over this phrase in the FAA Application. It states applicants with current and potential limitations that could affect Test Site operations would receive a lower score.

"The governor's fear is a very misplaced fear," said Kiesal.

"My bill has nothing to do with the technology or the testing just the application," said Wesselhoft.

House Bill 1556 states that if the UAS is being used for surveillance by the government a search warrant must be issued.

"I want this technology and I want Oklahoma to flourish in that regard. I just want to protect your right and my right," said Wesselhoft.

Oklahoma has already seen dozens of private companies created for drone development and house bill 1556 also states private drones cannot be armed. The bill will be back on the floor in February.

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