A new Pennsylvania bill, signed by Governor Tom Wolf, will impose a financial penalty for drone operators who use their drone to spy on people or otherwise endanger the physical wellbeing of someone.
As reported by Pittsburgh’s WTAE, House Bill 1346, which goes into effect 60 days after signing, says that any drone operator “who uses a drone to invade someone else’s privacy or puts someone in fear of being physically harmed” will face a fine upwards of $300.
“With the rise in popularity of drones with video cameras, this is a commonsense step to prevent the use of drones to invade someone’s privacy,” says Governor Wolf. “Drones should not be a tool to spy on someone in their yard or through their window.”
According to Pennsylvania Republican Jeff Pyle of Armstrong County, a sponsor of the bill, the wording used in the bill was written with the help of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In addition to the $300 fine, the bill also addresses the issue of using drones to smuggle contraband into prisons. Individuals who use a drone to sneak items to a prison inmate can face upwards of ten years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
The statewide bill also prohibits local governments from coming up with their own drone regulations and also provides exceptions to first responders, law enforcement officials, government employees and utility companies who are using drones in an official work capacity.
This bill adds Pennsylvania to the growing list of states that have already addressed issues surrounding drone privacy and the many others who are currently working on solutions.