Councilmen Dan Garodnick and Paul Vallone plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday to ban the use of drones in the city.
Garodnick’s proposal would prohibit the use of any “unmanned aerial vehicle” within New York City airspace. Exceptions would be made for the New York Police Department, which could use the devices if a warrant is obtained.
Vallone’s legislation includes regulations in areas where drones may be used. It would protect people who fly drones or model airplanes as a hobby, and would designate specific areas where they could be flown.
Vallone’s bill would also establish fines and possible time in jail for anyone who violates the prohibition.
“They both lead to a hearing to explore what the best set of rules are here,” Garodnick said of the proposals. “The technology here has gotten ahead of our regulations which makes many New Yorkers uncomfortable and we are going to take affirmative steps to deal with it.”
The remote-controlled recording devices have been in the news recently, as people have used them dangerously—including directing them toward NYPD helicopters—and in more intrusive ways, by recording non-authorized video of regular citizens.
“The privacy issue is that drones change people’s reasonable expectation of what is free from surveillance and in a densely populated area like New York, the safety issues are both for property and for people,” Garodnick told Capital.
Police commissioner Bill Bratton has expressed interest in the department using drone technology as part of its surveillance and crime fighting tactics.
Garodnick said he would be supportive of NYPD having access to drones as long as they have the appropriate warrant.
“I think it’s appropriate for there to be some carve out for the NYPD,” Garodnick said.
Both bills will be formally introduced at the Council’s stated meeting on Wednesday.