Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Berkeley: No Drones Language Finalized for Consideration By City Council

In a meeting Monday, September 10, the Peace and Justice Commission of Berkeley, CA, approved language for a "no drones" resolution. The resolution will now move to the full Berkeley city council for consideration, with consideration likely scheduled for November.

The approved language is provided below, followed by a list of additional articles relevant to a Berkeley No Drone Zone.

Resolution to Proclaim Berkeley a No Drone Zone and Enact an Ordinance to that Effect

From Commissioner Meola, September 10, 2012

WHEREAS, the Peace and Justice Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice (Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 3.68.070); and

WHEREAS, Berkeley has a history of standing up for peace, justice, civil liberties, and the welfare of people; and

WHEREAS, United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per day, including commercial airliners and freight haulers, air taxis and private and military aircraft; and

WHEREAS, “Statistics show unmanned aircraft have an accident rate seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation;”1 and

WHEREAS, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, also known as Drones, are not now allowed in United States general airspace because of the threat they present to other aircraft and under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 the FAA is directed to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout United States airspace by September, 2015; and

WHEREAS, small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission; and

WHEREAS, drones have limitations in “vision” compared to the vision of human pilots, do not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by humans, and there has been at least one instance outside the United States of a drone collision with an aircraft with a human pilot on board and another incident, as well, of a near miss and these instances occurred in airspace much less crowded than that of the United States2; and

WHEREAS, drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance having to be shot down3, and drones are susceptible to electronic interference and having control seized electronically by unauthorized operators; and

WHEREAS, drones have the capability of carrying a variety of weapons, including 12-guage shot guns, tear gas, rubber bullet guns, bombs and missiles, but drones have significant limitations in identifying specific individuals and groups; and

WHEREAS, Unmanned Aerial vehicles (drones) have the capability to watch individuals, groups and populations on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements for days and weeks in an unprecedented way; and

WHEREAS, drones have the capability to continuously monitor cell-phone and text messaging of individuals, groups and populations; and

WHEREAS, drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals; and

WHEREAS, drones would present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground in the City of Berkeley, due to limitations in drone “vision”, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control; and

WHEREAS, armed drones and surveillance drones would present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process in the City of Berkeley;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Berkeley, with this resolution, and by Proclamation, proclaims Berkeley a No Drone Zone, and instructs the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration of a No Drone Zone into an Ordinance for the City of Berkeley wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace over the City of Berkeley, including drones in transit. Under that Ordinance, flying of a drone within the airspace of the City of Berkeley shall be considered a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Each offense that is more than one offense of flying a drone within said airspace will be considered to be an additional misdemeanor, with jail time and fines based on the number of violations.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Berkeley.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that exemptions will be made for hobbyists to continue to fly remote controlled model aircraft in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped with any kind of camera or audio surveillance equipment.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be sent to Governor Jerry Brown, California Attorney General Kamala Harris, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Nancy Skinner, the Alameda County Sheriff, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Barbara Lee, President Barack Obama, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.


1 Spies in the sky signal new age of surveillance
2 Midair Collision Between a C-130 and a UAV | Defense Tech
A Drone Near-Disaster? An airplane pilot reports a near collision with a "remotely controlled aircraft" over Denver
German Army Luna UAV vs Ariana Afghan Airlines Airbus A300B4 – YouTube
Drones Most Accident-Prone U.S. Air Force Craft: BGOV Barometer – Bloomberg
3 Out-of-control drone shot down by US jet plane before it flew into Tajikistan | World news | guardian.co.uk
4 USAF reports on drone crashes that likely would not have happened had there been a pilot on board. This is just from skimming crash reports, and there likely are more.
Executive Summary: Aircraft Accident Investigation - MQ-1B Predator, T/N 07-3182, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, 5 May 2011
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FAA Documents Raise Questions About Safety of Drones in U.S. Airspace

Help EFF Find Out How Your Local Police Agency is Using Drones

Are Guidelines Issued by Drone Industry an Attempt To Avoid Government Regulation?

NY Claiming ‘No Drone Zone’, Hopefully More States Will Follow

Hatred: What drones sow: The hidden and growing danger of Obama's remote air war in Pakistan and Yemen

Drones spur debt and polio: The price tag for Obama's remote control war keeps rising

Rand Paul takes on the Pentagon: The Kentucky senator wants to curb unmanned flights, but the Air Force tells Salon about its plans to expand them

U.N. rights chief calls for drone probe: Civilian victims are due compensation, says top official; Panetta says strikes will continue

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Another right-wing drone skeptic: Jack Goldsmith, a former Bush official, supports an ACLU lawsuit for more information on remote aerial warfare

Losing Yemeni hearts and minds: CIA drone strikes in the Middle Eastern country are undermining our mission there

States fight for drone biz: Six UAV test sites are up for grabs -- and state governments are eager to get their hands on them

The face of collateral damage: Photos of missile debris help trace the path of a CIA drone missile that killed a young girl

Who will drones target? Who in the US will decide? A new procedure puts the White House squarely in control of who will be targeted by drone attacks

Drones’ new weapon: P.R. - The industry's fighting back, determined to remake its image. "Change scares people," an industry rep tells Salon

Conservatives turn on drones: Right-wing writers, from Charles Krauthammer to Matt Drudge, join the left in criticizing domestic drone use

Coming soon: Bigger drones: The FAA has decided to allow larger drones to fly in U.S. airspace

Drone war defensive: The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan has quit, undermining Obama's reassuring tale of remote control war

Fear the zombie drone: How do you safely launch thousands of new aircraft into already crowded skies? The safety concerns of domestic UAVs

Drones invade campus: Universities are buying drones faster than police departments -- and the military is helping foot the bill

Drone victims’ defender speaks: The deaths of innocent Pakistani civilians turned Shahzad Akbar from a U.S. friend to full-time critic

Drones for “urban warfare”: Manufacturers are targeting U.S. police forces for sales, as drones move from the Middle East to Main Street

Petraeus and the signature of U.S. terror: The CIA pressures Obama to step up indiscriminate attacks in Yemen

Air Force ramps up drone war: New documents reveal plans to more than quadruple Reaper missions by 2016

In Iowa, occupiers picket a drone factory: The owner touts benefits of aerial technology as merchants complain about disruption of holiday shopping

Look up in the sky and see a drone

Drone operations over Somalia pose danger to air traffic, U.N. report says

Congress: Domestic drones pose potential threats - The House Homeland Security Subcommittee held a hearing Thursday about the domestic use of drones. Rep. Michael McCaul expressed concern that drones not only could be hijacked and flown against a target, but also pose other safety issues. (July 19)

KnowDrones - provide drone replicas and educational materials to support citizen action to achieve an international ban on weaponized drones and surveillance drones - war drones.

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