California Kicks Paparazzi Drones to the Curb

Gov. Jerry Brown bans flying drones taking pics, recordings in private airspace
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2015 8:28 AM CDT
California Kicks Paparazzi Drones to the Curb
In this Aug. 14, 2015, file photo, a drone operated by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office flies during a demonstration of a search and rescue operation in Dublin, Calif.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

If you've been thinking of firing up the ol' Blade Chroma Quadcopter to take some snapshots of Sandra Bullock's supposed new baby, you'll have to wait until she leaves her California home. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Tuesday that effectively bans flying drones over private property with the purpose of taking pictures or making a recording, the BBC reports. The law's mission is to prevent invasions of privacy, especially for celebrities hounded by paparazzi. (Miley Cyrus was among the first stars to document a drone overhead, with an Instagram pic that simply said, "Drone Pap wtf.") "We learned that the paparazzi have used drones for years to invade the privacy and capture pictures of public persons in their most private of activities, despite existing law," Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who penned the legislation, said in a statement, per the Los Angeles Times.

And it's clear the paps are determined to use drones to their advantage: One who was stymied while trying to get footage of Selena Gomez last year appeared in a video ranting, "They tried to stop us from taking pictures … [and we said], 'You know what? Release the drone," notes People. But Brown isn't for yanking all drones: In recent weeks, he's vetoed both a more general bill that would have prohibited flying drones over private property without permission, as well as three bills that would have banned drones over wildfires, schools, and prisons, the Times notes—the former because such a law "could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation," and the latter due to the possibility of new crimes being created under the ban. (Meanwhile, the FAA is worried about all the drones that may end up under the Christmas tree this year.)

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