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Limits on Drones for Private Use?



Some stories of technology just really get your attention. Maybe like an Eli Manning getting tackled kind of  attention. Yes, real attention.

Okay, I admit it, I can’t take my eyes off this picture. Maybe I will just include it in every blog. It just gets me… but I digress! Like the Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial, “Game day bucket go boom”.

It’s no surprise that the  Apple rumor is already suggesting that they are coming out with iPad 5 and iPad mini 2.  That doesn’t cause the “Eli look”. But to move from my stream of consciousness detour, let’s head to the current session at the Virginia General Assembly.

Pilot Online is reporting that a Virginia state Senator is pushing legislation that would take aim at unmanned non-governmental “drone” aircraft flying over private property or just plain snooping. This legislator says “Nay Nay!”. His legislation to limit private technology came to state Senator Frank Ruff (R-Mecklenburg County) when he read  a news story about an animal-rights group that was caught flying a small remote- controlled little plane equipped with a tiny camera.

It was flying over a hunt club in Pennsylvania and captured the images of captive pigeons being released in the air and then shot down by waiting “hunters”.  Then, the hunters saw the little drone plane and shot it down, like one of those pigeons. Game day plane go boom! (see, everything does tie in, even my mental wandering)


There are no known stories of  airborne private drones flying over any Virginia hunters, but Senator Ruff wants to make sure to keep that from ever happening. His Senate bill (SB-954) would outlaw “the use of a drone by a private person to monitor and photograph persons lawfully hunting on private property, when the drone is used by a private person without the permission of the landowner”.

The bill won unanimous approval in the House Agriculture, Conservation and Natural committee on Thursday. Now, it is being forwarded to the Courts of Justice Committee to debate the broader issue of prohibiting aerial photography and observation and whether that has a Constitutional protection. The issue is really to consider how far a property owner can expect privacy. If the bill is construed too broadly, it could effect commercial aerial photography and data gathering.

I expect that Google is going to weigh in on this bill. This could potentially have impact on their satellite maps. Plus, this really reaches into whether a landowner has a reasonable expectation of privacy that could even extend into air space and into outer space.

As I type those thoughts out, I believe that this legislator, with an intent to protect hunters against groups like PETA; really is going to end up facing a whole lot of opposition from other groups and services that could be impacted. Plus, maybe the hunters could even use the drones to force wildlife to their property. Just a thought!

Of course, that brings us to pic o’ day and a bit of dentistry:

Dare to Question Origin

     Whenever I write a blog, I usually indicate the source right in the blog. Or, I attach the link for you to read, if you want more information.

     “Boo” Booberg, my esteemed colleague, is a sometime blogger on this site. He also sends me ideas for blogging. Today, he emailed a story that involves real estate and the difficulties in demonstrating ownership title, following such calamities as Katrina. As such, I don’t have the source for the pasted story below. However, I didn’t want my lack of knowledge to stand in the way of posting this frustrated correspondence. As you can see, I have not “censored” the letter or contents, except for one small word.

Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task of tracing home titles back potentially hundreds of years.  With a community rich with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have been passed along through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish ownership.  

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

(Actual reply from FHA):
“Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803. Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin.”

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

(Actual response):
“Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the United States from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application. For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by Right of Conquest from Spain . The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of Discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Queen Isabella. The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing  of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition. Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory. Now, may we have our d*** loan?”

The loan was immediately approved.

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