Texas Senate approves bill banning drones

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Associated Press

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 1:04 AM

Updated Saturday, May 18 at 1:06 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has approved a bill criminalizing the use of drones and other unmanned aircraft to indiscriminately photograph or conduct surveillance on private property.

The bill would make it a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 in fines to conduct with malice any surveillance without a property owner's knowledge. Exempted are law enforcement officials tracking suspected criminals.

The Senate also amended the bill Friday to ensure that citizens can photograph or film police arrests and other actions with their smartphones.

The bill still must go back to the House for final approval.

Supporters say it will modernize privacy rights amid technology improvements. Opponents argue it violates freedom of the press and may be unconstitutional.

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