The US state of California has passed a law banning the use of image-capturing drones, on privacy grounds.

Assemblyman Ed Chau, who wrote the privacy bill, said: ‘As technology continues to advance and new robotic-like devices become more affordable for the general public, the possibility of an individual’s privacy being invaded substantially increases.

‘This new law will update California privacy laws to better encompass future advances in technology by making it a constructive invasion of privacy to capture an image or sound recording in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, under circumstance [s] where the subject had a reasonable expectation of privacy, through the use of any device.’

Though not explicitly aimed at the paparazzi, the law is expected to curb photographers’ use of drones for celebrity pictures.

Assembly Bill 2306 extends California’s existing privacy legislation – that limits use of a ‘visual or auditory enhancing device’ – to cover ‘any device’ – regardless of whether a physical trespass onto someone’s land has taken place.

The act, signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, amends Section 1708.8 of California’s Civil Code.

Text from the amended California Assembly Bill 2306:
‘A person is liable for constructive invasion of privacy when the defendant attempts to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a personal or familial activity under circumstances in which the plaintiff had a reasonable expectation of privacy, through the use of any device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass, if this image, sound recording, or other physical impression could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the device was used.’

 READ ABOUT THE UK LAW ON DRONES HERE