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House votes to protect Tennesseans’ privacy with drone legislation

Last week, the House chamber approved legislation aimed at ensuring that the technology utilized by first responders does not provide an opportunity for hostile foreign nations to conduct surveillance on the people of Tennessee.

House Bill 1070 will prevent state and local agencies in Tennessee from purchasing new drones that are prohibited under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019. Those include drones that are made in China, Russia or other adversarial countries.

“This legislation makes sure that the local agencies [are] using the same standards to best use technology to help first responders do their jobs while protecting the privacy of U.S. citizens,” said bill sponsor State Rep. Michele Carringer, R-Knoxville.

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Agencies will not be required to replace existing equipment and can still use any drones they currently have. However, any new devices must be purchased in compliance with the new regulations. House Bill 1070 will now go to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law.

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