LAWRENCE RESIDENTS TO URGE CITY COMMISSION TO ADOPT DRONE RESOLUTION THAT PROTECTS CIVIL LIBERTIES

CONTACT: Ben Jones, 785-766-5227 Patrick Wilbur, 785-727-0506 Email: responsibledroneuse@gmail.com

Local organizations and residents will present a proposed resolution addressing concerns raised by domestic drones at the Lawrence City Commission Meeting on Tuesday, September 24, at 6:35pm.

This past May, a group of Lawrence residents came together to share with the Lawrence City Commission their concerns over threats to privacy and civil liberties posed by the growing use of domestic drones. Since then, these residents have met with the Lawrence Police Chief and local organizations to solicit suggestions for a drone resolution that puts in place protections for privacy and civil liberties. They incorporated this feedback into a proposed resolution, which they will present to the Lawrence City Commission on September 24 during the public comment portion of the meeting.

Specifically, the proposed resolution calls for: (1) a moratorium on the City using drones until guidelines governing their use are developed at the state level; (2) a ban on the City using weaponized drones; and (3) a ban on the City using drones to conduct surveillance and gather evidence admissible in court, except in response to an emergency where lives are at risk. The number of organizations endorsing this proposal has grown to eight: the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri, Douglas County Libertarians, Douglas County Republican Party, Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, Iraq Veterans Against the War – Lawrence, Lawrence Food Not Bombs, MadreLawrence, and Young Americans for Liberty – University of Kansas.

Eight states and a number of municipalities already have passed measures addressing privacy and civil liberties concerns raised by drones. In many of the municipalities that have passed measures on drones – such as Iowa City, IA, and Evanston, IL – students played a leading role pushing these measures.

Several hundred residents, including many students, have signed a petition calling on local officials to pass a drone resolution. Michael Albers, the President of Young Americans for Liberty – University of Kansas, finds students to be increasingly concerned about domestic drones and threats to civil liberties.

“It’s no surprise that students are taking the lead in efforts to pass measures addressing concerns raised by domestic drones,” says Albers. “In the wake of NSA spying revelations, we are acutely aware of the dangers that technology can pose. Given drones’ powerful surveillance capabilities, it is common sense to put in place safeguards for privacy and civil liberties as this technology becomes more widespread. Our message to our local officials is simple: protecting individuals’ right to privacy and civil liberties must always be a priority.”

WHAT: Presentation of Proposed Drone Resolution to Lawrence City Commission

WHEN: Tuesday, September 24, 6:35pm

WHERE: Lawrence City Hall, 6 E 6th St., Lawrence, KS 66044

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