California governor outlaws paparazzi drones, days after approving police UAVs

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A small drone helicopter operated by a paparazzi records singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter (not seen) as she rides the Cyclone rollercoaster while filming a music video on Coney Island in New York August 29, 2013 (Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

A bill preventing paparazzi from targeting celebrities with camera-equipped drones has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, just days after he was criticized for shooting down a bill requiring police to obtain a warrant to use a drone.

The law, approved on Tuesday, bans the use of a drone to capture images and record voices of people who did not give their permission for it. 

The bill’s author, Ed Chau, applauded the governor for keeping the state’s legislation abreast with modern technology. 

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,” he said, as cited by AFP. 

Earlier, Sean Burke, founder of the Paparazzi Reform Initiative, campaigning for stronger privacy laws, said drones were a “huge privacy concern.” 

The National Press Photographers Association, however, opposed the bill, arguing it could restrict journalists’ ability to gather news. 

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