FAA Criminalizes the Use of Drones

For the first time, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), has taken a stand on unmanned aircraft. In a notice posted on the FAA website on Monday, October 27, 2014, the FAA prohibits the use of drones and model planes near or over large sports stadiums and auto racetracks. Violators will be subject to certain criminal penalties under 49 USC 46307, which can include hefty fines and up to a year in prison. This prohibition applies to stadiums which seat 30,000 people or more, and includes First Energy Stadium, here in Cleveland, Ohio.

DronePicDrones have been a hot button issue. Earlier this year, in North Dakota, a U.S. Citizen was convicted and sent to prison based on a video provided by a military drone. This was the first time someone was convicted based on this type of evidence. That case tested the limits of the Fourth Amendment ot the U.S. Constitution regarding unreasonable searches and seizures.

Last month, Justice Sotomayor, spoke before a group of faculty members and students at Oklahoma City University, giving a nod to George Orwell’s book, “1984”, when she stated, “We are in that brave new world, and we are capable of being in that Orwellian world, too”.

For further reading on the topic, check out the book titled, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) and the Law (2011), by Lydia de Beer, which is available at the Law Library, and located on the Atrium level. It speaks mainly about the legal limits in the use of drones for military purposes.

The FAA has debunked many of the common misconceptions and misinformation about unmanned aircraft system (UAS), a.k.a. Drones, on their website. Check it out.