Project citizen: Task Group 1


The Problem We Are Studying

We are studying how people are misusing drones in New Jersey. Over the years there have been many incidents involving drones. People have been flying drones to hover and stalk people, sometimes coming dangerously close to aircrafts. Drones are used for suspicious activities. Although drones are a relatively new technology, many important values and resources may be threatened if we don’t start setting regulations.

How widespread the Problem Is In New Jersey

In New Jersey we have one of the most used airports in the world known as Newark Liberty International Airport. Hundreds of customers fly per day, departing and arriving at EWR. In 2014, there were 395,525 flights and 35,610,759 passengers at EWR. On average, 1,083 flights were flown per day and 45 flights were flown per hour. The risk of collision with drones is high. Springfield in particular is directly underneath a popular flight path that is often used by jets. This puts the citizens of Springfield at risk because the flight path is low to the ground, and it may be difficult for people to find safety if a plane was incapacitated due to a drone.

Source-click here

Important Values and Resources Threatened

An important value is threatened by drones. One of them in particular is the freedom protected under the Fourth Amendment, which protects a person’s right to privacy. People in America, value freedom in general. When we became a country, one of the top priorities was that the rights and freedoms of the people wouldn’t be infringed upon. Drones are invading people’s privacy, and this should not be permitted.

Why This Is A Problem That Should Be Handled By The Government

Drone misuse is a problem facing New Jersey because it is violating a right protected in the New Jersey Constitution and the United States Constitution. Also, if left unregulated, this can lead to private government information being leaked to the public. Drones can spy on the U.S. government, which can lead to extreme events that involve the government. According to the Director of Intelligence from Homeland Security, named Rosemary Martorana, ISIS claimed to have conducted 80 drone attacks in Iraq and Syria over the past few months. They have killed 40 people and injured more than 100 people. ISIS is using commercial drones that can be easily bought on the open market, making how-to guides readily available to the public and inspiring home-grown terrorists in the U.S. They have conducted surveillance with commercial drones since 2014, now arising as a major threat. The government can no longer use walls and fences to keep their information private.

Source-Click Here

Level of Government and  Government Agencies Responsible For Dealing With This Problem

In order to pass a law in the state of NJ, it must go through the State Legislative Branch which is bicameral. It would go through the State General Assembly and the State Senate. After that it continues  to  the governor Chris Christie, and he decides if he wants to sign it into law or veto it. The NJ Supreme Court can decide if it’s constitutional.

What the Government is Doing About the Problem

The government is generating some plans to preventing the problem of drones from worsening. The federal government and many states have passed numerous UAS-related laws. Many of them focus on protecting the privacy of individuals. Some of those laws give people a say in who accesses their private information, and others address safety concerns. In NJ we have a policy that makes it a criminal offense to use drones to conduct surveillance of, or fly over, critical infrastructures and it also requires certain drones to be registered and insured. The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) also recently created a “comprehensive” plan for drones. The new small UAS rule determines where and how drones can be flown, how high drones are allowed to fly, and provides limitations with airspace within five miles of airports, stadiums, or heavily populated areas. It also mandates owners to operate drones from where they could see them, and requires registration of UAS that weigh between 250 grams and 55 pounds. These are just small steps to completely fixing this issue.

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Existing Laws and Policies Regarding Drones

The current FAA regulations state the following about drones:

  1. Fly below 400 feet.

  2. Don’t fly near people or stadiums.

  3. Must be under 55 pounds.

  4. Fly at least 5 miles from an airport.

  5. Don’t interfere with manned aircraft.

  6. Never fly under the influence.

  7. Never let the drone fly out of sight.

  8. Never fly near emergency response efforts such as fires.

Source-Click Here

NJ laws and Policies:

  1. Banned drones in all state parks.

  2. The NJ state Interscholastic Athletic Association banned drones at all outdoor high school sporting events.

  3. Some retailers must provide FAA safety guidelines for flying drones to customers.

  4. Drones must be registered and insured.

  5. Can’t fly over or survey critical infrastructures.

  6. Operating drones can’t be equipped with weapons.

Adequacy of the laws or policies

These laws are not adequate to completely ensure people’s safety.  Laws are still being broken because they are very difficult to enforce, and are also difficult for people to follow. This is why we are seeing an increase in court cases involving drones.

Disagreements In Our Community About This Problem

And The Way It Is Being Handled

The disagreements in communities about drones and the way it is being handled all involve people violating others’ privacy. For example, On July 2015, 47-year-old father, William Merideth, shot down his neighbor’s drone in Louisville, Kentucky. He stated that it was spying on his 16-year-old daughter while she was sunbathing by the pool. John Boggs, a hobbyist, owned the drone. He told authorities that he was only trying to take pictures of the scenery. He then filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Louisville and claimed that Meredith did not have the right to shoot the craft down because the government controls all airspace in America. Although he was arrested, a judge ruled that he had the right to shoot down the drone and dismissed the case. Since then, Meredith has partially become an anti-drone spokesman, calling himself the “drone slayer”. He told The Washington Post, “The only people I’ve heard anything negative from are liberals that don’t want us having guns and people who own drones.”

Source-Click Here  

People in the community that should take responsibility for solving the problem

Other people in the community should also take responsibility for solving the problem. Politicians, lawmakers, and most importantly, normal people, should be involved in fixing this issue. When we go out there to elect people into the government, they work for us and are our voice in government. Politicians are an important factor in solving this because they are the ones to speak our minds, and make sure they are reflecting the will of the people.

Individuals, Groups, and Organizations With An Interest In The Problem

  1. Amazon- uses drones to deliver products

  2. Google- uses drones to survey land for google maps

  3. Domino’s pizza- uses drones to deliver pizza

  4. Gopro- leading drone manufacturer in the U.S.

  5. William Meredith (the “Drone Slayer”)- fights for constitutional rights

Original Artwork



By: Ivo

In this picture the owner of the drone is using it to spy on two women at the beach.  This is why many people from New Jersey are complaining about people spying with drones. New Jersey has 127 miles of coastline and beaches.  This issue has only increased since 2014 and it will continue to increase as technology grows. If people continue to use technology inappropriately, then drones will continue to be complained about.

Source-Click Here

Political Cartoon Analysis

By: Michael

This political cartoon showing two armed men (most likely terrorists) watching an American FBI drone. One man is saying, “Relax- It’s an FBI drone. They only spy on Americans.” The two men are representing the terrorist organizations that the US is currently fighting against. The drone is a reconnaissance aircraft that is used by the government to collect aerial data from above. The artist exaggerated the calmness of the soldiers- their weapons are still strapped to their backs, and their hands are at their waists instead of grasping at the straps of the weapon. Also, the drone has flown extremely close to the ground, and much lower than usual reconnaissance aircraft. Another thing exaggerated was the wording; how the soldiers thought they knew that it was only for spying on Americans. The artist chose to exaggerate these details because he knew then it would make an impact on the viewers to realize that other countries and people know that the US is spying on their own citizens- and that their privacy is being violated. People can clearly see this through exaggeration and a depiction of the soldiers and drone. Source-Click Here

Want To Give Your Input? Take Our Polls:

Poll #1- Click Here

Poll #2: Click Here


-Grace L. Spencer:  New Jersey Assemblywoman that supported Bill A4807.

-Annette M. Quijano: Sponsors drone polices.

-Daniel R. Benson: Assemblyman that supports several bills that controls the regulations on drones.

-Fred H. Madden Jr: Senator that support bills that controls drone laws.

-Jeff Bezos: Head of Amazon.


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