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Bill Makes Using Drones To Photograph People On Private Property A Crime

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File photo of a drone. (credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin J. Steinberg//U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

File photo of a drone. (credit: Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin J. Steinberg//U.S. Navy via Getty Images)

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texans who use drones to photograph people on private property could be charged with a crime under a bill on its way to the governor’s office.

The Legislature approved the measure Sunday night.

The bill’s sponsors say they are scrambling to keep up with the pace of technological developments that threaten privacy.

The proposed law would make drone surveillance a misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. But it includes more than a dozen exceptions for law enforcement, fire suppression and chemical spill investigations. Other exceptions would allow low-flying drones, low-resolution cameras and drone photography on public property. Real estate agents would also be allowed to use drone photography to produce marketing materials.

Opponents say the proposal arbitrarily limits a new journalistic photography method.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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