District 54 Representative Paul Wesselhoft (R-Oklahoma) announced three bills earlier today addressing an individual's right to privacy in Oklahoma. The bills, HB 1559, HB 1557, and HB 1556 outline protections against various privacy concerns including RFID tracking, geolocation in cellphones, and domestic drone use by law enforcement respectively.
In what would seem like an uncanny partnership, Republicans and the ACLU of Oklahoma endorsed the legislation. Ryan Kiesel, executive director for the ACLU of Oklahoma remarks how the future of technology as well as law enforcement surveillance is already here. Creating preemptive legislation to deal with technological advancements rather than scrambling to catch up once they arrive seem like a prudent course of action, especially when dealing with privacy issues. Tweet to ACLU: Tweet
As Rep. Wesselhoft said:
"That technology is here and it is only going to develop. Matter of fact it's going to develop so rapidly within the next decade it might be available to you... Our legislation gives some protection of personal liberties when it comes to drone technology." Tweet Quote: Tweet
This is the type of approach legislators should have when dealing with technology. Considering how rapidly the tech landscape is changing and has changed, proactive legislating rather than reactive legislating is what government needs to effectively govern.
Even if the legislation doesn't survive the Oklahoma Legislature, it's heartening to see at least a passing attempt to address privacy issues. Drones, tracking technologies, and cell phone privacy are potentially very invasive areas that most citizens feel fairly strongly about. Tweet the news: Tweet
Whether or not other states take similar preemptive steps to addressing these hot-button issues will be reflected in the dialogue surrounding them. If it appears that bills are being rushed through in an effort to react to new developments in surveillance industry rather than being carefully considered, people will be much less understanding of their elected officials.