Aerial photography ban proposed for all but government

AGBeat: "Neal Kurk (R), member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives since 1986 has recently sponsored HB 619-FN to make aerial photography illegal in their state."

The proposed bill states:

A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if such person knowingly creates or assists in creating an image of the exterior of any residential dwelling in this state where such image is created by or with the assistance of a satellite, drone, or any device that is not supported by the ground. This prohibition shall not apply where the image does not reveal forms identifiable as human beings or man-made objects. In this paragraph, “dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more individuals.

This bill would forbid you from tossing a camera two feet into the air with the shutter-timer feature activated. And Kite aerial photographers will have to switch to pole cams, I guess.


  1. Terrible. I don’t see this passing First-Amendment muster. This would outlaw Google Earth, Google Satellite Maps, etc. And why? Because of some aqueous, unnamed terrorist threat. Awesome.

    1. Because the New Hampshire Legislature is crazy big. (Per Wikipedia, it’s the 3rd largest legislature in the English-speaking world, exceeded only by the British Parliament and the U. S. Congress, for a state with a total population of about 1.3 million.) Also, compensation for serving one term as a member of the legislature is: $200, plus mileage, plus free use of toll roads and state-owned resorts. Which means many of the legislators are basically volunteers, and many of them are also retirees.

      TL;dr: there is no idea too crazy to be floated in the New Hampshire state legislature.

      1. The headline really needs correction: Aerial photography ban proposed for all but government and people outside New Hampshire.  But that’s not as fun.

        1. I’d amend it to: Aerial Photography Ban Proposed For All But Government And People Outside New Hampshire, But Don’t Worry, It’s Not Going To Pass Because Doing So Would Inconvenience Businesses.

      2. Actually, they get free admission to state parks, not state-owned resorts (of which, to the best of my knowledge, there are none).  Also, they just revoked their own free admission to the state-owned ski area, Cannon Mountain.

  2. I dunno, it might be fun to watch the inevitable shitstorm when New Hampshire is wiped off the face of Google Maps, Bing Maps, Apple Maps, MapQuest Maps, Yahoo! Maps, and other such Maps and Maps Accessories.

  3. All RC flying vehicles requires some sort of ground support; a person with an RC controller, for instance. It’s an electronic tether, sure, but it’s still a tether to something on the ground. 

    1. that was going to be my point exactly.

      what the hell is wrong with these people, anyway? why not just outlaw aircraft, because of course they too can see your house from above! tree houses, too!

      seriously, when in history is there an example of someone using any type of aerial photography to do anything illegal? (other than .. well, the government..) i mean, i’m asking.. does an example exist?

      1.  Hey! The sequester isn’t THAT bad! They only cut out the word  ‘free’ so that it’s now the much simpler to use “Live or Die”.

    1. The Republican party stays in a near-constant state of cognitive dissonance.  I think over time it’s calcified the part of their brains that acknowledges such hypocrisy.

      1. Depends on how you frame that “free”.  “Live unsurveilled” means that it’s fine to impose a surveillance ban on others.

    2. If the Constitution doesn’t specifically guarantee you any rights higher than you can reach while standing on tip-toe, they don’t exist.

      1. NH is the land of “We want our guns, but we don’t want YOU to have any ability to take them away,” abstracted to its absurd extreme.  Which means all kinds of mixed-message “civil rights restrictions are to protect our freedom” legislation and passive-aggressive, ridiculous social behavior.  I’m glad I only work in NH, and don’t live there. Although the taxes, on the balance compared to MA, ME and VT, are somewhat lower, due to no income tax.

    1. Remember, NH is the third vertex in the Texas-Montana Freemen trifecta.  There are LOTS of crazies there. Do “Ed & Elaine Brown” ring a bell?

      1.  Please explain this to a Britisher. New Hampshire is the only part of ‘Murka I’ve been to, and notwithstanding the GIANT nativity scenes and glow-in-the-dark Grinches, etc (it was winter) in just about everybody’s garden, they seemed reasonably normal compared to say, the Texans I’ve met.

        1. Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, etc., contain people who proudly fly their confederate flags and think of it as overtly reasonable behavior.  They are often obvious about it, not always, but more often. 

          In New England, and NH in particular, people are socially more restrained from overt displays.  But the feelings: the bigotry, the extreme political views, the conservative reluctance to social changes …are all still there.  So you can walk around here and not see or hear stuff that really is here.

          Malcolm X described it well in his book.  He described how Northerners were more racist than Southerners, because the bigotry is insidious, seeped into every crack of the Great White Way.  Whereas in the South, you pretty much knew a good ole boy when you saw him in his truck and could probably avoid him if you needed to.  Less so in the North.

          1. I don’t know where you live in NH, but in my part (West Central) the people are more tolerant than anywhere else I’ve been in the world.

          2. Well, you know me personally Bill… I live in VT.   I would put California much higher on the tolerance scale than NH or VT, and many parts of CA aren’t all that tolerant.  It’s a very subtle thing that is hard to pick up on unless you’ve lived elsewhere.  I would say that the UV is *not* all that tolerant.  Perhaps in a basic way, but dig down a little past the smile at the grocery store, and it seethes.

    1. It’s a constant fight against the Nanny Staters.  I suppose the only different is that New Hampshiremen are willing to put up the fight.

      That we even have to is evidence of a broken system.

      1. I actually would agree with that.  The problem is that the people who make a legitimate beef with the government get all mixed up with the crazies who use that same complaint to also advance their extremist point of view.  And then it *all* looks crazy.  Meanwhile, the original point was sane, but it’s being fought over by all the crazies!

  4. This would also ban people from taking pics out an airplane window. I don’t see this passing. It’s just too silly.

  5. Once I was on the roof of my house during one of the rare episodes when my neighborhood experiences mosquito problems. From that vantage I could see some neighbors had blocked gutters with standing water which I assumed was the source of mosquitoes.

    Later in seeing info on quad-copter video drones I had the idea that one could be used to find blocked gutters, and then offer my expensive service to clear them (I believe in many areas it is technically illegal to have blocked gutters).

    I’m sure such a “service” could freak people out, particularly if they thought I was checking out more than just their gutters.

  6. Is anybody else as angry as I am? Left up to their own these A-hole politicians would ban breathing saying it contributes to global warming. Elected officials who put forth this kind of ridiculous legislation should be bitch slapped! and thrown out of office and not be allowed to ever run for any kind of office again!

  7. Note that that’s a very stupid law, for reasons beyond the perfectly obvious to the layman.

    Aerial photography is increasingly used by a range of professions for different purposes:
    – Architects to plan buildings
    – Real estate agents to provide property overviews
    – Land owners to survey their land
    – Forrestry services
    – Landsculpting/Park construction companies
    – Environmental record keeping (both private and government)

    The list would go on for a good long while, but you get the point. People who need to deal with any kind of estate use aerial photography. These will all be affected.

  8. Probably anti drone legislation – in which case it’s not that unreasonable – just misguided –   what they need in the case of drones is legislation that would prohibit their use – period.  You cannot tell if they are armed and it’s always possible the person at the controls could pull the trigger on you –

    1. While I absolutely agree we should ban police drones, I still feel it’s a shame that a civilian drone ban is still in place.

      Allowing citizens and businesses to use low altitude RC/autonomous drones could open up all kinds of fun and useful things, and it could revolutionize delivery.  Imagine a UPS truck parking at the end of your block, launching 5 or 6 drones and doing all the deliveries for the area simultaneously.  It’d be so much faster, and could plausibly save money too, not having to start and stop a diesel engine over and over.

      There would of course have to be a strict set of rules, and certainly licensing and certification to operate autonomous drones, but low altitude flight could solve some of the problems of sharing the sky with planes and helicopters.

      1. I would like to use an RPG on the model airplane that flies about a mile from me and manages to sound like a jet taking off despite being the size of a toy.

      2. “Imagine a UPS truck parking at the end of your block, launching 5 or 6 drones and doing all the deliveries for the area simultaneously.”
        I’m imagining it – the enormous noise of a drone large enough to carry a package that’s also creating potential safety and privacy problems by landing on people’s property… yeah, I’m going to say that’s not a great idea.

          1. You’ve got lots of company there – that seems to apply to most of the proposed drone projects I’ve seen, even the ones where people had time to think about them…

          2. If we’re going with idle fantasies, I can think of a much quieter delivery service vehicle.

          3. It is a good idea and people are working on  it. 

            The idea that a UPS truck should be able to just come up your driveway without being pre-announced is just insanity – I mean, what if somebody is sunbathing in the driveway!?!

      1. It’s the death of rational thought and the triumph of the cult of false equivalency.
        Summer camps for kids? Hitler had camps!!!!

  9. back when I was into model rockets, they sold a kit that was basically a film camera you could stick on top of a rocket, and it would take a picture once inverted. I imagine people still do this, and this would also be banned.
    (funny aside; this was in the early 90s, and it looked like all the materials were printed in the 70s. the ad I’m thinking of featured a picture of a (pre accident) 3 mile island nuclear plant.

  10. Sounds from my UK viewpoint like yet another grandstanding USA politician trying to pretend that he’s actually working for the people he represents (not much different from the UK version, come to think of it). Wonder who put him up to this bit of sheer lunacy?

  11. 1. Rope is heavier than air so the kite is supported by the rope.
    2. To take pictures out of plane windows were prohibited in Soviet Union.
    3. Do Poles have cams?

  12. There’s a fairly big community of UAV hobbyists (as a quick browse of hackaday’s archives will confirm). They should get a swarm of flying robot things to follow this jerk everywhere.

        1.  Don’t, please, Cantor sets give me enough of a headache, the mental gymnastics involved in classifying all the world’s dickheads in a single system  would have me weeping blood…

  13. There is only one way to stop aerial photo drones, and that is with more aerial photo drones.

  14. Every time I see a story like this, my first thought is ‘Seems another politician read Homeland’.

      1. This is partly hilarious because New Hampshire from the air mostly just looks like this.

  15. then again, if it affects all but the government it could be very profitable for a monopolistic government-run photographic service.  Maybe it’s not that dumb idea at all. From the government’s point of view.

  16.  I live in NH, and that’s about right.  It doesn’t help being the focus of the Moronic Free Staters…

    1. So I hear the Free Staters are going to fill the hearing room to speak against this bill – are you going to show up to oppose them?

  17. If this goes through, NH would dethrone FL as the USs most f*cked up state.

    Of course it can’t because business people would not like having to run to the gummint every time they need to make a map or take an areal picture.

    The real-estate lobby will shoot this down, and maybe Neal Kurk (R) too.

  18. HA HA !! Check out the incredibly reliable AG BEAT staff…the source contributors to this murky boingboing story.

    You’ll notice their amazing collection of contributors are predominantly real estate bloggers, (by the way, if you’d like to throw in your opinion on anything, it seems anyone can join and post on AG BEAT then voila you’re a REPORTER too!!) It’s easy kids!

    The full story on NH’s drone legislation ideas — as written by a NH news source — gives a much more detailed account of what this new NH anti-surveillance legislation may mean. None of the complete reporting of this legislation is provided in this ridiculous and alarmist boingboing article, attributed to AG BEAT — a source whose wrtiers “love HGTV” or are in commercial real estate in TEXAS…

    The story by the Nashua Telegraph below offers a much different report. Unfortunately for boing boing and its readers, this link below is not nearly as salacious, slanted, or — to be perfectly honest — mythical, as quoting a site written by real estate agents with laptops.

    How can you give credence to Lani Rosales Mark?– a so-called influential blogger — when the full report below is so much more complete? influential? Maybe. Accurate? NOT AT ALL!

    1. From your link
      “The bill is HB-619-FH. It is different than an earlier version that would have outlawed all aerial photography by drone, plane or even satellite. That proposal drew attention online, as well as some ridicule, but was altered before the first committee hearing.”
      So it seems that the original article was correct and sites like this helped change it.

  19. Don’t forget those kids who have been sending balloons to the edge of space with cameras on board.

    Probably selling the films to the bad guys by pretending it’s science research.

    You really have to wonder what motivates people like this to introduce such obvious insanity as a bill.

  20. In other illegal-photography news, here in Indiana, the Republican-controlled legislature is seriously considering a bill that would make it a felony to photograph any farm or operation that processes animals. The bill’s supporters go so far as to call animal-rights supporters “terrorists”.

  21. Send a camera up in a balloon  take a photo of a large swath of the US – you are now a criminal.
    Why do lawmakers seem intent of making everyone a criminal?

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