House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs, R-AZ, introduced Tuesday the “Buzz Off Act” to stop federal law enforcement agencies from using drones to surveil and target Americans, which, he says, violates our constitutional rights.
“Although we are living in unprecedented times, we must not compromise our long recognized constitutional rights,” Biggs said in a statement.
“Overseas, the Chinese and Spanish governments have already been using drones to impose stay-at-home orders, and some state and local governments here in the United States have taken notice,” he added. “In California, drones have been equipped with speakers and cameras to help enforce the coronavirus lockdown; in at least one New Jersey city, these devices are being deployed to harangue citizens into heeding social distancing guidelines.”
“Any freedom-loving American is left to wonder: what’s next? The Fourth Amendment and decades of Supreme Court precedent grant all American citizens a right to privacy,” he continued. “I won’t let our nation be transformed into a police state, nor will I sit idly by and let a soulless machine tell me how to live my life. These nosy little drones need to buzz off!”
The use of drones has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as law enforcement continues to use them to enforce strict lockdowns in many states. Last week, a group of Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security raising concerns that some of those drones are produced by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI), a Chinese-owned company, which donated 100 drones for “45 police, fire and public safety organizations in 22 states” amid the coronavirus outbreak.
BREAKING: China has infected our law enforcement agencies.
Chinese drones are being used by some US police to enforce social distancing…and likely sending information to China.
China stole our health. Now they threaten our national security.
This must end now. pic.twitter.com/zTU4WmVNKQ
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) May 5, 2020
Moreover, many U.S. government agencies have outlawed any purchase of such drones over the grave national security concerns, including the Interior Department, which “temporarily retired” the drones and the U.S. military, which has been banned from using and purchasing them under the National Defense Authorization Act.