Blog, Expert Appearances, Law, privacy

McNeal Testimony Regarding Drones Privacy and Surveillance

I recently testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding drones and domestic surveillance.  Pepperdine ran a story on the testimony which I’ve pasted below.

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Associate Professor of Law Gregory McNeal testified before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary on May 17 regarding the use of unmanned aerial systems, known commonly as drones, for surveillance purposes inside the U.S. Professor McNeal, an expert in national security law and policy, cautioned against the use of broadly worded warrant requirements as a tool to protect privacy or public safety. Instead, he recommended surveillance legislation that would require more transparency in the use of these systems by law enforcement.

McNeal’s testimony offered various considerations for pending legislation, including arguing against blanket prohibitions on the use of drones for the collection of evidence or information unless authorized by a warrant, and the argument that broadly worded use restrictions that prohibit use of evidence gathered by drones exceed the parameters of the Fourth Amendment and may not serve to protect privacy. Furthermore, McNeal argued that Congress should eschew drone specific legislation and instead look to legislating what places are entitled to privacy protection and clearly define search terminology including terms such as surveillance and private property.

“What’s interesting about working in national security is that there is a foreign affairs and international law aspect to my work that was one strand of my research, drones being used on battlefields,” McNeal said. “But, national security also encompasses domestic law enforcement, homeland security, and all manner of government surveillance and tracking. Those issues also relate to my teaching, specifically criminal procedure and criminal law.”

McNeal noted that his writing on the topic began when policymakers became interested in how drone technology would be used in the United States and what the legal implications of such use might be. That writing, he said, was in the form of short essays that have appeared in Forbes and longer draft papers that will soon be published law review articles. The writing provided an opportunity for McNeal to speak at the Association of Unmanned Vehicles International national conference.

“This was the biggest gathering of manufacturers in the aerospace industry and my panel was focused on privacy law and surveillance,” McNeal said. “From that experience I began hearing from legislators at the federal level and from various state governments, to the point where about once every other week over the past year I’ve been fielding a phone call or an email from someone asking me to comment on draft legislation. All of that came to a head last week with my invitation to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.”

McNeal is a professor at Pepperdine University where his research and teaching focus on national security law and policy, criminal law and procedure and international law. He previously served as Assistant Director of the Institute for Global Security, co-directed a transnational counterterrorism grant program for the U.S. Department of Justice, and served as a legal consultant to the Chief Prosecutor of the Department of Defense Office of Military Commissions on matters related to the prosecution of suspected terrorists held in the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He is a Forbes contributor where he writes a column about law, policy and security.

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Blog, Law, law enforcement, privacy

University of Washington: Drones, Privacy, and Surveillance

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On Thursday November 1st, at 12 noon I will be making a presentation entitled Drones on the Homefront: Privacy at Risk?  This presentation is based on my paper Drones and Privacy Governance, a short abstract of that paper appears below. 

Unmanned systems (drones) and other technological innovations raise serious questions about modern conceptions of privacy. This paper examines the constitutional doctrine related to aerial surveillance and technology, and finds that current doctrine is unlikely to prevent the use of unmanned systems. The paper next addresses calls to create a statutory requirement that will subject the use of unmanned systems to the warrant requirement. These calls are rejected because they fail to protect privacy, while unnecessarily hampering legitimate law enforcement efforts. To best protect privacy, the paper suggests various mechanisms of democratically centered privacy governance, and a regulatory regime to govern the use of unmanned systems. The paper’s appendix includes a model bill appropriate for adoption by cities, states, and the federal government. The bill outlines the various privacy governance measures discussed in the body of the paper. 

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Blog, Law, privacy

CU Boulder: Drones on the Homefront, Is Privacy At Risk?

CUBoulder

On Thursday October 11th at 12pm I will be making a presentation based on my paper Drones and Privacy Governance.  The event will be open to the public and refreshments will be served.  

Here is the abstract of my paper: 

 Unmanned systems (drones) and other technological innovations raise serious questions about modern conceptions of privacy. This paper examines the constitutional doctrine related to aerial surveillance and technology, and finds that current doctrine is unlikely to prevent the use of unmanned systems. The paper next addresses calls to create a statutory requirement that will subject the use of unmanned systems to the warrant requirement. These calls are rejected because they fail to protect privacy, while unnecessarily hampering legitimate law enforcement efforts. To best protect privacy, the paper suggests various mechanisms of democratically centered privacy governance, and a regulatory regime to govern the use of unmanned systems. The paper’s appendix includes a model bill appropriate for adoption by cities, states, and the federal government. The bill outlines the various privacy governance measures discussed in the body of the paper. 

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Blog, Law, privacy

OU Law School Presentation on Drones and Privacy

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On Thursday October 4th at 12pm I will be making a presentation based on my paper Drones and Privacy Governance.  The event will be open to the public and refreshments will be served.  

Here is the abstract of my paper: 

 Unmanned systems (drones) and other technological innovations raise serious questions about modern conceptions of privacy. This paper examines the constitutional doctrine related to aerial surveillance and technology, and finds that current doctrine is unlikely to prevent the use of unmanned systems. The paper next addresses calls to create a statutory requirement that will subject the use of unmanned systems to the warrant requirement. These calls are rejected because they fail to protect privacy, while unnecessarily hampering legitimate law enforcement efforts. To best protect privacy, the paper suggests various mechanisms of democratically centered privacy governance, and a regulatory regime to govern the use of unmanned systems. The paper’s appendix includes a model bill appropriate for adoption by cities, states, and the federal government. The bill outlines the various privacy governance measures discussed in the body of the paper. 

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Blog, Law, law enforcement, Policy, Terrorism

Drones on the Homefront: Privacy at Risk?

Does the domestic use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) by law enforcement threaten privacy?  I’ll be discussing that topic at 1pm on Thursday September 13, 2012 at the University of San Diego, School of Law.

From the flier:

DID YOU KNOW…

- The Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that within 20 years, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying in U.S. skies.

- Some drones called “nano drones” can be as small as an insect.

- Drones can be equipped with surveillance technologies to identify and track people.

- There are multiple bills currently being proposed in the House to limit the use of drones.

- The Federalist Society will be offering FREE FOOD at this one-of-a-kind, timely discussion.

Guadalupe Hall, Rm. 117 at 1 pm Professor Gregory McNeal, Drones on the Homefront: Privacy at Risk?  My remarks are based in part on my work-in-progress, Drones and Privacy Governance.

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Blog, Law

Drones on the Homefront: Privacy At Risk?

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On Tuesday, August 28th at 12 noon I will be presenting at The University of Denver, Sturm College of Law and on Wednesday, August 29th at 9am I will be making the same presentation at The University of Wyoming, College of Law.

The panel is entitled Drones on the Homefront: Privacy at Risk?

My remarks are based in part on my work-in-progress, Drones and Privacy Governance.

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