Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

MY LETTER TO MAINE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE


Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills (Democrat) is now formally opposing our bill to require warrants for police before they can do surveillance of the public with drones.

She says: "The Legislature finds that evolving technology regarding unmanned aerial vehicles ('drones') presents a potential economic driver for the State of Maine, an opportunity for research and development, a very real benefit for security and search and rescue efforts and for disaster prevention and relief, a potential aid to the investigation of crime, as well as potential privacy threats from private use and a potential threat to the privacy of Maine citizens if widely used by law enforcement in the conduct of criminal investigations without appropriate guidelines and supervision."

I will go to our state capital on Thursday to attend the Joint Judiciary Committee work session on the drone bill which is being shepherded by the Maine ACLU.

Here is a letter that I just sent to Judiciary Committee members:

Dear Judiciary Committee Members:
    
Today we learned that Maine's Attorney General Janet Mills intends to offer an amendment to LD236 - the drone bill.

Likely under pressure from the drone industry and law enforcement AG Mills appears to be putting the civil liberties of Maine citizens much further down the priority list.

We can't go along with that.

The ACLU contends that, "The heart of the [AG's] amendment seems to be a moratorium until agencies develop their own policies in line with minimum standards set by the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and the AG regarding drone use.  We are not convinced that we’re going to like the minimum standards these law enforcement agencies come up with.  Standards developed by law enforcement could be so broad as to be meaningless.  Similarly, under their bill, they’re supposed to come up with data retention limits.  They could decide they want to keep everything – even incidentally collected data on innocent people – for 5 years and datamine it (that’s what NJ’s AG has decided to do with ALPR data)."

We concur with the concerns expressed by the ACLU. We fear that without serious requirements written into law, mandating that police agencies must obtain warrants before undertaking surveillance of citizens, the people of Maine will be exposed to violations of our civil rights.  This will lead to political unrest, litigation, and general distrust of government and police - none of which is a good thing for our state.

 The Judiciary Committee should first represent the public and the constitution of Maine.  The interests of drone manufacturers and police should not trump civil rights.

In recent weeks many people and groups around Maine have been spreading word about LD 236 and urging the public to take heed of this important bill.  Hundreds of Mainers have signed a petition in support of the requirement that police must have a warrant before they do drone surveillance of citizens.
    
We urge you to do the right thing and support the ACLU version of LD 236.
    
Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.
    
Bruce K. Gagnon
Secretary
Maine Veterans For Peace
Bath
443-9502

1 Comments:

Anonymous jerry call said...

I concur Bruce. A warrant is needed in the case of drones as it is in wire taps.

Keep up the great work.

Jerry

4/10/13, 10:44 PM  

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