Why Amazon and Google are paying attention to Sacramento this summer.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: recode.net
California Senate Bill 142 restricts the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles under 350 feet above properties without the permission of those property owners or legal entities. The bill passed the California Assembly on Monday, by a wide margin (56 to 13), and is heading to the state senate for a vote soon. If passed, it would land on the desk of California Governor Jerry Brown. If signed, advocacy groups that represent many of the largest Silicon Valley firms say it would create a litigious nightmare, hamper public use cases of drones and land a blow to a burgeoning tech market. The Consumer Electronics Association has estimated that unmanned vehicles will generate $14 billion in economic impact in the state over the next ten years — from recreational sales windfalls to broader use cases, like delivery or emergency response services. That impact could be knocked out by the bill, the association wrote to its sponsor, State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson. “This is problematic for this growing industry, and just not the kind of good public policy we need right now,” said Doug Johnson, VP for technology policy at CEA. “It’s fundamentally a ban on commercial use,” said John Doherty, a VP at TechNet, a lobbying group whose clients include Amazon and Google. GoPro, which announced its recreational drone devices in May, has also been actively involved in opposing the legislation. For her part, Senator Jackson positioned the bill as a privacy issue. As drones rise in popularity, concerns rise too about unwanted drones floating above us. “Drones are a new and exciting technology with many potentially beneficial uses,” Senator Jackson said in a statement. “But they should not be able to invade the privacy of our backyards and our private property without our permission.” In June, the bill’s language was tweaked, moving from requiring the “consent” of property owners for drones to fly to demanding “express permission.” That new language, tech advocates said, refocuses the bill on property rights and tightens restrictions on potential uses.