Two congressional caucuses declare their interest in protecting Americans’ freedom from privacy invasions and liberty violations.
“The Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus was designed to educate Members of Congress and their staff on matter of indiviual privacy, to provide a forum for the discussion of these issues, and to serve as a legislative advocate for personal privacy matters.”
“We pledge our unwavering commitment…
… To sunset expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and bring remaining provisions into line with the U. S. Constitution.
… To protect the personal privacy of all Americans from unbridled police powers and unchecked government intrusion.”
Funny thing, though. There are four bills that make unequivocal steps to curtail drones from either putting Americans under warrantless surveillance or in government crosshairs…
- H.R. 972: “Prohibits a person or entity acting under the authority of the United States from using a drone to gather evidence or other information pertaining to criminal conduct or regulatory violations except to the extent authorized in a warrant issued under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.”
- H.R. 1083: “Prohibits the Secretary of Transportation (DOT) from authorizing any person to operate an unmanned aircraft system (drone) in the national airspace system as a weapon or to deliver a weapon against a person or property.”
- H.R. 1242: “To prohibit the use of drones to kill citizens of the United States within the United States.”
- H.R. 1262: “The bill will require privacy protection provisions relating to data collection and minimization, disclosure, warrant requirements for law enforcement, and enforcement measures in the licensing and operation of drones.”
Click the links associated with each of the bills, and you’ll find out that (as of today, at least) not one legislator in the Bipartisan Privacy Caucus has cosponsored H.R. 972. Only 1 out of 24 Privacy Caucus members has cosponsored H.R. 1083. Only 1 out of 24 Privacy Caucus members has cosponsored H.R. 1242. And yes, in a depressing bit of repetition, only 1 out of 24 Privacy Caucus members has cosponsored H.R. 1262 — and that’s actually the principal sponsor, Ed Markey.
How does the Congressional Progressive Caucus fare? Not one legislator in the Progressive Caucus has cosponsored H.R. 972, or H.R. 1083, or H.R. 1242. Only 1 out of 24 Progressive Caucus members has cosponsored H.R. 1262 — and yep, that’s the principal sponsor again, Ed Markey.
Some of you may be asking right now, what about the Tea Party Caucus? Why not look at the conduct of the Tea Party Caucus regarding drones? The answer seems the be that the Tea Party Caucus no longer exists.