The City of San Diego is seeking public input for their upcoming testing of unmanned aircraft systems, also known as drones. San Diegans are invited to complete an online survey to weigh in before the proposed program advances any further. The Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee will receive an update on this program from the Office of Homeland Security on Wednesday, December 5th at 9am.

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties works hard to protect individuals’ right to privacy, free speech, due process and assembly – rights that are threatened with the entrenchment of a “surveillance state.” Even so, we recognize that drones have many beneficial uses, such as for search-and-rescue missions, scientific research, mapping and more.

Without proper regulation and oversight, surveillance drones can cause unprecedented invasions of our privacy rights. This is a subject of fierce debate among lawmakers, law enforcement, civil rights and civil liberties organizations, and the public.

And this is why the ACLU strongly urges San Diegans to fill out the survey to ensure all voices are heard in this important matter and that City officials are held accountable if public concerns and interests are not addressed.