WHEREAS, drones are capable of highly advanced surveillance, and drones already in use by law enforcement can carry various types of equipment including live-feed video cameras, infrared cameras, heat sensors, and radar while some military versions can stay in the air for hours or days at a time, and their high-tech cameras can scan entire cities, or alternatively, zoom in and read a milk carton from 60,000 feet; and
WHEREAS, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, are gaining popularity among the general population and public agencies such as the military and law enforcement; and
WHEREAS, several jurisdictions have already purchased drones with very little, if any, public announcement or discussion; and
WHEREAS, routine aerial surveillance would profoundly change the character of public life in America and rules must be put in place to ensure that we can enjoy the benefits of this new technology without bringing us closer to a "surveillance society" in which our every move is monitored, tracked, recorded, and scrutinized by the government; and
WHEREAS, with the passage of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Congress has directed the FAA to establish regulations by 2015 to allow for the commercial use of drones; and
WHEREAS, six test sites have been approved to allow the FAA to develop research findings and operation experiences to help ensure safe integration; and
WHEREAS, drone privacy bills have been introduced by state legislatures across the country and as of January 2015, 8 drone privacy bills have been signed into law in Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia; and
WHEREAS, commercially used drones can serve many societal benefits including assessing hostage situations, addressing bomb threats and detecting forest fire and while boasting the benefits of drone usage, there is potential for misuse if there are no clearly established policies that protect our privacy rights as American citizens; and
WHEREAS, there is no federal law or regulation governing the use of drones and no guidelines on how public agencies can acquire them.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that drones (UAS) operated by any government and/or law enforcement agency shall not be armed with any weapons or spray devices and that all drones have surveillance oversight to avoid intrusion in our civil rights and that all information captured be retained for no longer than three months unless it involves the use of force, leads to detention, arrest or complaint filed. All recordings shall be released with the consent of the subject or individual involved. Blurring portions of video/audio should be used to protect the underage or innocent. All videotaping should be time stamped and not allowed to be erased by officers. Officers should not be allowed to use their own devices as body camera or video equipment. All video footage shall be downloaded immediately to a central data base.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Peopled (NAACP) calls upon law enforcement agencies across the United States to develop guidelines for the usage of drones that protects the privacy and rights of the American people; and
THEREFORE, BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People encourages its units to work with law enforcement and stakeholders in the development and implementation of drone usage in the community.