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Florida Passes Bill to Protect Privacy from Private, Public Operators of Drones

Privacy law in the last few decades has been altered and changed so often in an attempt to keep up with the technological trends and progress that society sees. Unfortunately, there is a significant disconnect between the privacy scope that the law covers and the actual invasions of privacy that occur in our everyday lives. In the last few years, drones have made their way to the center of discussion revolving around privacy law and the rights and invasions that go hand-in-hand for those operators of the drones and the information that they obtain.

Drones Entering into the Mainstream

Before, the issues were less complicated because drones were sophisticated machines that were only in the hands of the government and private defense firms that had the money and know-how to operate the crafts. But, in a blink of an eye, drones are now in the mainstream commerce flow where anyone may have access to the drone and can operate it with limited to no knowledge about the extent to which these drones are able to mine data.

Florida Takes on Invasions of Privacy Due to Drones

Florida is attempting to come up to speed with its drone legislation and privacy laws. In the past, there have been certain Fourth Amendment search and seizure laws that were put into place to protect the population from invasions of privacy perpetrated by drones operated by the U.S. government, the military, and federal, state, and local police. With the introduction of the drone to the mass market, Florida has drafted and passed new legislation that will tackle spying and data mining by drones not only belonging to the government, but also to private individuals and companies looking to explore and investigate private property of private individuals.

Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act: July 1, 2015 in Effect

The new law known as the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act” was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott in May 2015, and finally went into effect first day of July. The bill outlines the scope and use of aerial drones, the exemptions from the law, and the types of civil penalties that can be exacted from those offenders of the law.

The Specifics of the Act

The law provides broad definitions of what the buzzwords “drone”, “image”, “law enforcement agency”, and “surveillance” mean, and ensures that even if a private citizen’s privately owned property is not the target of the information that the drone is seeking to uncover in its images, but is still in the background, the operator of the drone may still be in trouble with the law. The law provides that consent is needed by the operator of the drone to invade someone’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy: Objective and Subjective

A party’s reasonable expectation of privacy will require the courts to assess two things when determining whether a party’s privacy was violated. First, the court will review whether society itself would assume that there was an objective reasonable expectation of privacy when it came to this injured party’s property. Second, the court will determine whether the injured party had a subjective reasonable expectation of privacy. If the real property was someone’s backyard surrounded by a fence, then the court will most likely find that the person had a reasonable objective and subjective expectation of privacy because the fence implies and is a symbol to society that what lies beyond the fence is only for the private property owner’s view and the property owner’s invitees and guests. If there was no fence or the fence has slats with a clear view of the property, the court may not assert that the property owner had that expectation of privacy since the view was accessible to any person on the street.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense as the result of drone imagery, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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