Drone bill veto unsuprising violation of rights


Pati Shojaee, Staff Writer

On Sept. 28, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill stating that police officers need a warrant to use unmanned aircraft systems (drones) to spy on California residents.

This decision is unsuprising since the U.S. government has already been spying on its citizens for years.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

So how does Governor Brown get away with his veto? Well, I’m glad you asked. Brown wrote a brief letter to the California State Assembly stating: “I am returning Assembly Bill 1327 without my signature. There are undoubtedly circumstances where a warrant is appropriate. The bill’s exceptions, however, appear to be too narrow and could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the Fourth Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution.”

The narrow exceptions Brown is referring to can be found in Title 14 of the bill. “A law enforcement agency, without obtaining a warrant, may use an unmanned aircraft system in all of the following circumstances: In emergency situations if there is an imminent threat to life or of great bodily harm, including, but not limited to, fires, hostage crises, ‘hot pursuit’ situations if reasonably necessary to prevent harm to law enforcement officers or others, and search and rescue operations on land or water.”

Long story short, Brown is saying that the bill will force police officers to respect the privacy of California citizens beyond the bare minimum of what the Fourth Amendment enforces.

When I first read about the leaked information provided by Edward Snowden I was horrified, but Snowden’s heroism gave me a twinge of hope for change in this country.

My hope is becoming smaller and smaller as the government makes more decisions like these regardless of any uproar from the people.

Ahead of his time, George Orwell predicted changes like these happening in the U.S. in his novel “1984.” In the novel, privacy is completely stripped away from all citizens including the privacy of one’s own thoughts. This is the place I fear we are headed to with the veto of this bill.

It is my belief that here in the Land of the Free we should be safe and secure to go about our lives without the constant threat of being spied on by the government for any reason. The veto of this bill is a egregious infringement to our freedom as Americans.