Syracuse Surveillance Drone Resolution

Syracuse Common Council Unanimously Approves SPC's Anti-Surveillance Drone Resolution

 Click here to read the resolution
We are thrilled to announce
 the passage of our resolution on December 16, the heart of which declares that "no agency of the City of Syracuse, nor any agents under contract with the City, will operate Drones in the airspace over the City of Syracuse until federal and state laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones are adopted that adequately protects the privacy of the population as guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution" and that the Council "urges our Federal and State officials to create and adopt such laws, rules and regulations regarding the use of Drones which ensures Constitutional protections of individuals."

This marks another beginning.  This is a Resolution, not an Ordinance, and therefore doesn't have the power of law. However, this indicates the unanimous intent of the Common Council, and our job now is to help them remember it, educate the newly-elected Councilors on it and be aware of the City of Syracuse's potential use of drones so we can bring the Council's attention to it. At this point the Police Department has no plans for drone use in 2014, but other departments may be considering it - and the opportunity for other departments to collect a vast amount of incidental data is immense. So we need to enjoy today's victory, but maintain our vigilance.

Many thanks to:

  • Councilor Jean Kessner for shepherding the Resolution through the Council. Please thank her and the other Councilors (contact information below).
  • The organizing committee of John Brule, John Murray, Ann Tiffany, Jerry Lotierzo and Carol Baum, along with the support of Brianna Shetler.
  • The many activists who signed petitions and came out to the Council meetings.

For more information and to join in the fun: Contact Carol.

Syracuse Common Councilor Contact Information

Councilors at Large
(represent all of Syracuse)
Jean Kessner 448-8466; 475-3518(h);
Kathleen Joy 448-8466; 432-0943 (h);
Helen Hudson 448-8466;  
Lance Denno 448-8466; 413-5013 (h);

Councilors by District

Click here to learn the district you’re in.
District 1  Jake Barrett  448-8466;   
District 2  Patrick Hogan  448-8466; 468-3880 (h);
District 3  Robert Dougherty  448-8466; 956-5544 (h);  
District 4  Khalid Bey  448-8466;  
District 5  Nader Maroun  448-8466;  727-7007 (h);



    WHEREAS, the prospect of  drones /UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) use inside the United States raises far-reaching issues concerning the extent of government surveillance authority, the value of privacy in the digital age, and the role of Congress in reconciling these issues; and

    WHEREAS, drones/UAS are being considered for use in non-federal law enforcement agencies, which might include surveillance, crime fighting,  disaster relief,  immigration control,  search for missing persons ,  and  environmental monitoring; and

    WHEREAS, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicts that 30,000 drones/UAS may fill the nation’s skies in less than 20 years; and

     WHEREAS, research must be conducted into the logistics, safety and privacy considerations related to proposed civil and commercial uses for drones/UAS; and

    WHEREAS, some Members of Congress and the public  have strong concerns that there are currently  insufficient safeguards in place to ensure that drones/UAS are not used to spy on Americans  unduly infringing upon their fundamental privacy as guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendment of the Constitution; and

    WHEREAS, the FAA is primarily tasked with ensuring air traffic safety in the national air space system, and is not tasked to handle the issues of privacy and civil liberties raised by the city of Syracuse agencies use of drones/UAS; and.

    WHEREAS, the use of drones/UAS by the city of Syracuse may result in a large amount of data  being made available to the city of Syracuse and its agencies and its agencies may mine this data in a way that may reveal personal information not lawfully accessible without a judicial warrant.  Unlawful use or sharing  of the data collected by drones/UAS would represent an unreasonable and unacceptable violation to the rights of individual  privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process in the City of Syracuse as guaranteed by the First and Fourth amendment to the Constitution;


    BE IT RESOLVED, that this Resolution declares, that drones/UAS are banned from airspace over the City of Syracuse until federal, state, and local legislation is adopted that adequately protects the privacy of the  population as guaranteed by the First and Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and

               BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, to the extent permitted by law, it is the policy of this Common Council that the use of drones/UAS by the city of Syracuse will not commence  ( be purchased, leased borrowed, tested) until the appropriate personnel are trained and fully authorized by the FAA to safely operate UAS/drones and that the city of Syracuse attorney certifies that all City of Syracuse personnel engaged in the use of UAS/drones have been training in federal, state and local privacy laws, regulations , and enforcement mechanisms affecting drones/UAS operations and the data collected by drone operations.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Clerk is hereby directed to transmit copies of this Resolution to Mayor Stephanie A. Miner, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, U.S. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, U.S. Representative Dan Maffei; NY State Assembly Members Roberts and Magnarelli, NY State Senate Members Valesky and DeFrancisco, President Obama, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.