Surveillance technology in the United States is extremely advanced, and its newest up-and-coming tool comes in the form of drones. There is relatively little legislation surrounding the private, commercial, and governmental usage of drones, and in order to keep pace with the drone industry, which is increasing exponentially from year to year, there is a serious need for the creation of regulations and restrictions surrounding this new technology. To help build awareness and motivate the Burlington community to take preemptive action to prevent drone surveillance in the city, we are hosting a Surveillance Drones Presentation on Thursday, December 3rd at 6pm at our local office at 60 Lake Street on the waterfront.

This presentation offers a basic overview of the history of surveillance in the U.S., how it is currently used, privacy laws, surveillance drone technology, and what to expect from the growing access to and use of drones in the coming years. It will highlight how surveillance technology is growing faster than the infrastructure that seeks to secure rights of people here in the United States. It will be followed by a Q&A and discussion of upcoming and ongoing policy work, statewide as well as here in Chittenden County

Legislation surrounding surveillance and drone usage domestically was introduced to the Vermont State Senate during the 2015-2016 term (S.18, Act 32) by Senator Tim Ashe and Senator Joe Benning, but the only portion that was passed into law was a small section regarding license plate readers. This October, meetings about the other sections of this bill are held at the Statehouse. It is likely that the portion of the bill relating to drone use will be very similar, if not completely the same, as the language in the original draft. On a more local level, we at the Peace & Justice Center are working on a resolution to restrict the usage of drones. The organization is currently working with City Councilors in Burlington and Winooski as well as community members in other cities and towns throughout Vermont. Until these pieces of legislation are made into law, Vermonters are vulnerable to privacy violations through drone use. Community education is a key aspect of the ability to mobilize and protect our rights as technology advances faster than policy.