A bill that would make it illegal to spy on people with a drone passed the Florida Senate on Thursday.
The measure, along with others that ban electronic snooping, stalking and so-called “revenge porn,” also appears headed for passage by the House.
SB 766 would prohibit citizens from using a drone, or any unmanned aircraft, to photograph or record a person in the privacy of their home. The Florida Senate passed the bill by a 37-2 vote, while a House version has yet to be voted on.
The drone bill was included in legislation sponsored by Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Rep. Larry Metz, R-Groveland, targeting private citizens who spy on other people.
Existing limits, including a 2013 Florida law on drones, have mostly applied to law enforcement.
Hukill said the laws are needed to confront new challenges to privacy in a changing technological landscape.
“It’s narrowly drafted, and we were careful not to touch any legitimate uses,” Hukill said. “If you’re tracking someone, you probably have some nefarious purpose.”
Another measure, inspired by cases in other states where the spying of jealous boyfriends and husbands ended in violence, would make it illegal to follow a person by installing a tracking device on their car or phone.
Such electronic monitoring figured into one in 13 stalking cases, according to a U.S. Justice Department survey last year. Ten states have passed laws banning it.
The Senate is expected to take up the House version of that bill, HB 197, sponsored by Metz.
Civil liberties advocates have criticized the legislation as being too broad, saying loopholes could open the door to more electronic surveillance from business and law enforcement. But Hukill has disputed that, saying it was intended only to restrict private individuals and won’t affect law enforcement at all.
A separate bill making it a crime to post sexually explicit photos of another person against their wishes also passed the Senate on Thursday, 39-0.
SB 538, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs would make posting revenge porn a misdemeanor, or a felony on repeated offenses.
New Jersey was the first state to make revenge porn a felony in 2004, and at least 13 states have passed laws against it since 2013.
A House version of the bill has not yet been voted on.
Original article here.