More often than we like, this space is filled with pointed criticism of politicians who legislate blindly — stepping forward with new regulations that sometimes serve only a special interest or create problems instead of providing solutions.
Thursday, Forese reversed course on his proposed legislation and changed its language, stripping the original bill of its warrant requirement and instead calling for the creation of a study committee.
That group will be responsible to develop recommendations on whether regulations are needed to protect the individual liberties of people who are purposely — or not purposely — subject to surveillance by a drone.
As stated earlier in this column, media portrayals of UAS are largely negative and that is creating a general misconception of the variety of uses for this technology.
Forese told fellow legislators that in addition to opposition from police organizations in Arizona, he learned after his bill became public knowledge that the state is a leading contender to capture significant economic benefit from the development of this technology for commercial applications.
Realizing that, the Chandler lawmaker put his pride aside and did the right thing — calling for more study to gain a better understanding of how and when drones will be utilized not only by police, but also by businesses and individuals.
We agree there is a need to protect privacy, and respect the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Allowing a police agency or the government to define its own policy on the use of drones for surveillance is an invitation to violate individual liberties.
Yet proceeding aggressively to regulate the use of UAS at a time when the applications of the technology are still being explored is also a mistake.
Forese is right — this issue needs more study before regulations can be developed that effectively accomplish the goals of utilizing the positive application of UAS, while still protecting people’s privacy.