City Councilman Sal DiCiccio points out the camera on a small drone he recently purchased while researching drones available on the market. His $60 drone, purchased off Amazon, captures video and photos.

Allison Hurtado/AFN

City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is trying to keep the law ahead of technology by bringing forth a new city ordinance dealing with drones.

The ordinance, which will go before a city subcommittee this month, says an individual cannot use an unmanned aircraft to photograph, film, audiotape or otherwise record an individual or individuals on their private property without the expressed, written consent of the property owner and individuals included in the recording.

The ordinance attempts to exempt those using drones for artistic or journalistic purposes, as long as no one is identifiable, or police in emergency situations. Police would not be allowed to use drones to search backyards without reason.

“The whole idea is to make the city of Phoenix the best city in the country for individual privacy rights,” DiCiccio said. “You should have a reasonable level of privacy in your own home and in your own backyard. This ordinance says if you are on your private property, you have privacy rights. People can’t be videotaping you in your backyard. Most people don’t realize you can do that today.”

DiCiccio has partnered with Councilman Michael Nowakowski to bring the issue forward. Nowakowski chairs the Public Safety and Veterans Subcommittee, where this proposal will first be brought up.

A draft of the ordinance has been written. DiCiccio said he wants the public to review the draft to help him identify any changes that need to be made.

Drones can be purchased online for anywhere from $20 to $1,400. The more expensive models allow users to plug in GPS coordinates and set a timer to fly over any area and record whatever is happening below. A simple $60 model purchased by DiCiccio’s office can fly with a remote control and easily capture photos and video.

Under the ordinance, a person would not be prosecuted if he or she destroyed all films, photographs and audio recordings as soon as they learned of the ordinance, without distributing the image to a third party and if the recordings did not include children or nudity.

To receive a copy of the draft ordinance, contact DiCiccio’s office at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or by calling (602) 262-7491.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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