New Hampshire Politicians Want To Make 'Satellite View' On Maps A Criminal Offense

from the say-what-now? dept

This is insane. Some politicians in New Hampshire have put forth a bill that would make it illegal to do aerial photography of any "residential dwelling." The key text of HB-619-FN is as follows:
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.
If you're thinking that this would make it a misdemeanor (which is still a crime...) for people to work on things like Mapquest, Google Maps and Bing Maps -- all of which have "aerial" views (often called "satellite view," though some are assisted by airplanes as well) -- to even exist, well, then, you have a point. Also, I don't know about you, but I've taken plenty of photographs out the window of an airplane, which have certainly included images of residential dwellings which revealed "forms identifiable as... man-made objects."

This seems like an extremist view of what "privacy" should be about, ignoring the fact that an aerial shot of your house is simply not a privacy issue. I am reminded, not surprisingly, of the story which resulted in the coining of "The Streisand Effect," in which Barbara Streisand sued a photographer for taking an aerial photograph of her house, as part of a project to photograph the entire California coastline from a helicopter (to study the impact of erosion). It was crazy to think of that as a privacy violation, and the court clearly agreed, siding with the photographer over Streisand.

And, it appears, lots of other courts have said that photographing someone's residence is perfectly legal:
Many courts have held that it’s not illegal to photograph a residence, such as the case in California and South Carolina and the issue has been addressed by other lawyers here and here. Usually the issue is whether the photograph invades the privacy of a person, which is difficult to do from the air, but is already addressed by case law.
Hopefully the legislature in New Hampshire realizes this is a complete overreach in the name of bogus privacy claims and drops the bill.

Filed Under: aerial photography, free speech, new hampshire, privacy

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2013 @ 8:42am

    Youtube: Google Glass Commercial - How It Feels That would be a illegal device.

    Youtube: Lochleven Luxury Residence by GIS Virtual Making virtual toors to sell homes, show off new buildings would be a crime now.

    Youtube: GPS to GIS: Mapping Field Data with ArcGIS Explorer Most mapping software (GIS - Geographic Information Systems) would be illegal.

    Photo to 3D Every single cell camera or photo camera on the market would become illegal since it is common to extract 3D coordinates from photos.

    Other fields impacted, emergency planning, archeology and so many other things.

    I don't think they thought this thing through.

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