Amherst takes steps to ban drone use

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Amherst Town Board is taking the next step to ban some drone use.

Councilman Mark Manna is working to address a drone dilemma in Amherst. He says he’s heard a lot of concern about privacy issues and what these cameras are recording.

Manna has proposed a resolution to limit how drones are used in the town.

“It’s easy for someone to fly it over your yard and snoop in your window and we certainly don’t want that,” Manna said.

The resolution explains there are “insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that drones are not used to surveil Americans” and that drone use “raises far-reaching issues concerning the extent of government surveillance.”

“Privacy is a big issue especially with drones, and especially that anyone can use them, any town can use them and that a police force can use them,” Manna said.

The main idea here is to control drone use inside Amherst agencies, like police or fire. It’s not something that would mandate or dictate how private citizens can use drones.

Tim Teach has his own drone. It’s a small copter with a camera attached.

“The angles, the perspectives, seeing something for the very first time that you may have seen a thousand times from that one different perspective can change your whole outlook on it,” Teach told News 4’s George Richert, last month. “I mean you name it, real estate, photography, sports activities. I can film soccer games.”

Under Manna’s resolution, that won’t change. Instead, he’s focused on limiting drone use at the taxpayer’s expense.

“Privacy is becoming harder and harder to keep private. Your personal information is becoming harder and harder to keep private and I think government needs to look at how we’re using our surveillance methods and protect residents to the greatest extent possible,” Manna said.

The resolution was passed unanimously, Monday. It will now go to committee, before an actual policy is created.

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