Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at GeekWire Startup Day 2013.
Gov. Jay Inslee speaking at GeekWire Startup Day 2013.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a bill today that would have regulated government use of surveillance drones amid concerns over public information disclosure.

House Bill 2789, which saw overwhelming approval in both the House and Senate, would have required agencies to get approval from state government before using drones for surveillance.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported that Inslee was concerned that the legislation would have allowed government agencies, in some cases, to destroy personal information of those being monitored by the drones.

drone1Inslee also today prevented state agencies from buying or using surveillance drone technology for 15 months, to give lawmakers more time to research the issue.

HB 2789 would have also required agencies that use drones to compile annual, public reports that detail how exactly they used the unmanned vehicles and why they were beneficial. It also forced agencies to obtain search warrants for the drones, expect in emergency situations.

Drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles,” have received quite a bit of attention the last year or so, especially in the wake of the stated desire of the Seattle Police Department to use them, in addition to Amazon’s futuristic vision of “delivery drones.” Just last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to his personal Facebook page to detail plans to utilize drones, satellites and lasers to “deliver Internet to everyone.”

The FAA is testing the legitimacy of drone use in the U.S., but last month the National Transportation Safety Board ruled that drone-flying is legal in the U.S. for now. The FAA has since appealed that decision.

Related: Amazon’s aerial delivery drones: How Jeff Bezos’ big idea could actually fly

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  • Easyrhino1

    I think there should be a web portal where citizens of WA State can enter a username and password which will grant them access to all the internet activity, during working hours, of WA state employees:

    Results of Google searches
    Which web sites they accessed
    How much time was spent on each website etc.

    I mean since anyone on the state payroll is basically an employee of the citizens of WA State and if they have nothing to hide then it shouldn’t be a problem right?

  • clibou

    Gov Inslee made one exception: for emergency purposes such as a natural disaster. Boeing has drones ready to patrol Oso slide zone recovery operation. Spotters are currently watching tinfoil on the tree line for any signs of movement.

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