News Release ~ 04/30/13

NACDL Launches Domestic Drone Information Center

Washington, DC (April 30, 2013) – NACDL is today excited to announce the launch of its online Domestic Drone Information Center (DDIC). While drones (or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) are most commonly known for their use in U.S. counterterrorism strategy, their presence inside the U.S. has become an important and growing concern in recent months.

NACDL President Steven D. Benjamin said, “NACDL’s Domestic Drone Information Center will serve as a comprehensive source of cutting-edge information on the proliferation of drones.” Benjamin sees the DDIC as filling a critical public need: “At the moment, people’s concerns about how drones will be used domestically are increasing, but information online remains scattered. The Domestic Drone Information Center aims to put everything in one place.”

To that end, the Domestic Drone Information Center aggregates news from leading publications across the nation. It features a comprehensive listing of legislative developments – federally, in each of the 50 states, and in select municipalities. It contains sections devoted to relevant case law, scholarship, upcoming events, and data on drone usage. The DDIC also aggregates existing material, providing the public with a launching pad to additional information on domestic drones. For example, the DDIC features links to other leaders in this field, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the documents it has compiled through an aggressive Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. As the status of domestic drones in America changes and new resources become available, the DDIC will continually offer the latest updates.

The use of drones inside America can seem surreal at the present, but drones are set to become a regular part of American life in coming years. In 2012, President Obama signed legislation authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to develop specific rules to accelerate the integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system by 2015. It is estimated that drones will be a $5 billion-plus industry. The FAA predicts that 30,000 drones will be deployed within 20 years.

Domestic drones have many potential positive applications – e.g., traffic mapping, monitoring agriculture, weather forecasting – but it is vital that their use be regulated. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country are gearing up to use drones and last year a police department in North Dakota conducted the first reported drone-assisted arrest.

NACDL Executive Director Norman Reimer said: “The impressive and wide-ranging technological capabilities of drones represent a fundamental change in the balance between the privacy rights of the people and the surveillance capacity of the state. As this landscape develops, it is important that the public, and most especially the defense bar, monitor this situation to ensure that individuals' privacy and constitutional rights are not infringed upon. NACDL hopes that its new Domestic Drone Information Center will be an asset for lawyers and members of the public alike.”

You can visit NACDL’s Domestic Drone Information Center at www.nacdl.org/domesticdrones. And you can contact us at drones@nacdl.org with any suggestions or feedback, including if you are aware of important drone information that we have not yet added to the site. This project is supported by the Foundation for Criminal Justice and the Open Society Foundations.

Contact: Isaac Kramer, Public Affairs and Communications Assistant (202) 465-7656 or ikramer@nacdl.org

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's approximately 10,000 direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.

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