Bill Text: TX HB912 | 2013-2014 | 83rd Legislature | Engrossed

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to images captured by unmanned aircraft and other images and recordings; providing penalties.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Republican 68-37)

Status: (Passed) 2013-06-14 - Effective on 9/1/13 [HB912 Detail]

Download: Texas-2013-HB912-Engrossed.html
 
 
  By: Gooden, Riddle, Burnam, Fallon, H.B. No. 912
      Stickland, et al.
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to images captured by unmanned vehicles and unmanned
  aircraft; providing penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  This Act shall be known as the Texas Privacy Act.
         SECTION 2.  Subtitle B, Title 4, Government Code, is amended
  by adding Chapter 423 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 423. USE OF UNMANNED VEHICLES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT
         Sec. 423.001.  DEFINITION. In this chapter, "image" means
  any capturing of sound waves, thermal, infrared, ultraviolet,
  visible light, or other electromagnetic waves, odor, or other
  conditions existing on or about real property in this state or an
  individual located on that property.
         Sec. 423.002.  NONAPPLICABILITY. This chapter does not
  apply to an image of real property or an individual on real property
  located in this state that is captured by an unmanned vehicle or
  unmanned aircraft operated in this state:
               (1)  for purposes of professional or scholarly research
  and development by a person acting on behalf of an institution of
  higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code,
  including a person who:
                     (A)  is a professor, employee, or student of the
  institution; or
                     (B)  is under contract with or otherwise acting
  under the direction or on behalf of the institution;
               (2)  in airspace designated as a test site or range
  authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration for the purpose
  of integrating unmanned aircraft systems into the national
  airspace;
               (3)  as part of an operation, exercise, or mission of
  any branch of the United States military;
               (4)  if the image is taken by a satellite for the
  purpose of mapping;
               (5)  by a manufacturer or distributor of the unmanned
  vehicle or unmanned aircraft in connection with the development,
  manufacture, testing, or research of the vehicle or the aircraft;
               (6)  by a manufacturer or distributor incidental to the
  activities authorized under Subdivision (5) and the manufacturer or
  distributor discloses the image voluntarily to law enforcement
  because the manufacturer or distributor reasonably believes the
  image shows the commission of an offense; or
               (7)  by or for an electric or natural gas utility:
                     (A)  for operations and maintenance of utility
  facilities for the purpose of maintaining utility system
  reliability and integrity;
                     (B)  for inspecting utility facilities to
  determine repair, maintenance, or replacement needs during and
  after construction of such facilities;
                     (C)  for assessing vegetation growth for the
  purpose of maintaining clearances on utility easements; and
                     (D)  for utility facility routing and siting for
  the purpose of providing utility service.
         Sec. 423.003.  OFFENSE: ILLEGAL USE OF UNMANNED VEHICLE OR
  UNMANNED AIRCRAFT TO CAPTURE IMAGE.  (a)  A person commits an
  offense if the person uses an unmanned vehicle or unmanned aircraft
  to capture an image of:
               (1)  an individual or privately owned real property in
  this state with the intent to conduct surveillance on the
  individual or property captured in the image; or
               (2)  real property in this state, on which a primary or
  secondary school or a licensed child-care facility is operated or
  an individual located on that property, with the intent to conduct
  surveillance.
         (b)  An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
         (c)  It is an exception to the application of this section
  that the image was captured:
               (1)  with the consent of the individual captured in the
  image and the individual who owns or lawfully occupies the real
  property captured in the image;
               (2)  pursuant to a valid search or arrest warrant;
               (3)  by a law enforcement authority or a person who is
  under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on
  behalf of a law enforcement authority:
                     (A)  in immediate pursuit of a person law
  enforcement officers have probable cause to suspect has committed a
  felony;
                     (B)  for the purpose of documenting a crime scene
  where a felony has been committed;
                     (C)  for the purpose of investigating the scene of
  a human fatality or suspected human fatality;
                     (D)  in connection with the search for a missing
  person; or
                     (E)  for the purpose of resolving a hostage
  situation;
               (4)  by state or local law enforcement authorities, or
  a person who is under contract with or otherwise acting under the
  direction or on behalf of state authorities, for the purpose of:
                     (A)  surveying the scene of a catastrophe or other
  damage to determine whether a state of emergency should be
  declared;
                     (B)  preserving public safety, protecting
  property, or surveying damage or contamination during a lawfully
  declared state of emergency; or
                     (C)  conducting routine air quality sampling and
  monitoring;
               (5)  at the scene of a spill, or a suspected spill, of
  hazardous materials;
               (6)  for the purpose of fire suppression;
               (7)  for the purpose of rescuing a person whose life or
  well-being is in imminent danger;
               (8)  by a Texas licensed real estate broker in
  connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property,
  provided that no individual is identifiable in the image;
               (9)  of real property or a person on real property that
  is within 25 miles of the United States border;
               (10)  from a height no more than eight feet above ground
  level in a public place, if the image was captured without using any
  electronic, mechanical, or other means to amplify the image beyond
  normal human perception;
               (11)  of public real property or a person on that
  property;
               (12)  by an electric or telecommunication utility
  provider regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas:
                     (A)  for the purpose of performing and reporting
  the results of the annual inspection of transmission lines and
  other facilities as required by the commission, if the images are
  captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an
  individual or real property located in this state; or
                     (B)  for the purpose of maintaining or repairing
  transmission lines or other facilities, if the images are captured
  without the intent to conduct surveillance on an individual or real
  property located in this state;
               (13)  by the owner or operator of an oil, gas, water, or
  other pipeline for the purpose of maintaining or repairing
  pipelines or other transmission facilities, if the images are
  captured without the intent to conduct surveillance on an
  individual or real
  property located in this state;
               (14)  by a satellite for the purpose of mapping,
  provided that the images are not captured with the intent to conduct
  surveillance of an individual or real property located in this
  state;
               (15)  in connection with oil pipeline safety and rig
  protection;
               (16)  in connection with port authority surveillance
  and security;
               (17)  in connection with cattle ranching or agriculture
  and wildlife management;
               (18)  in connection with oil and gas exploration;
               (19)  for the purpose of water supply safety;
               (20)  for the purpose of surveying land;
               (21)  for the purpose of agriculture and farming
  safety; or
               (22)  in connection with an air show or related event.
         (d)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section that
  the person destroyed the image:
               (1)  as soon as the person had knowledge that the image
  was captured in violation of this section; and
               (2)  without disclosing, displaying, or distributing
  the image to a third party.
         (e)  This chapter does not apply to the manufacture,
  assembly, distribution, or sale of an unmanned vehicle or unmanned
  aircraft.
         (f)  In this section, "intent" has the meaning assigned by
  Section 6.03, Penal Code.
         Sec. 423.004.  OFFENSE: POSSESSION, DISCLOSURE, DISPLAY,
  DISTRIBUTION, OR USE OF IMAGE.  (a)  A person commits an offense if
  the person:
               (1)  captures an image in violation of Section 423.003;
  and
               (2)  possesses, discloses, displays, distributes, or
  otherwise uses that image.
         (b)  An offense under this section for the possession of an
  image is a Class C misdemeanor.  An offense under this section for
  the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image is a
  Class B misdemeanor.
         (c)  Each image a person possesses, discloses, displays,
  distributes, or otherwise uses in violation of this section is a
  separate offense.
         (d)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section for
  the possession of an image that the person destroyed the image as
  soon as the person had knowledge that the image was captured in
  violation of Section 423.003.
         (e)  It is a defense to prosecution under this section for
  the disclosure, display, distribution, or other use of an image
  that the person stopped disclosing, displaying, distributing, or
  otherwise using the image as soon as the person had knowledge that
  the image was captured in violation of Section 423.003.
         Sec. 423.005.  ILLEGALLY OR INCIDENTALLY CAPTURED IMAGES NOT
  SUBJECT TO DISCLOSURE. (a)  Except as otherwise provided by
  Subsection (b), an image captured in violation of Section 423.003,
  or an image captured by an unmanned vehicle or unmanned aircraft
  that was incidental to the lawful capturing of an image:
               (1)  may not be used as evidence in any criminal or
  juvenile proceeding, civil action, or administrative proceeding;
               (2)  is not subject to disclosure, inspection, or
  copying under Chapter 552; and
               (3)  is not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other
  means of legal compulsion for its release.
         (b)  An image described by Subsection (a) may be disclosed
  and used as evidence to prove a violation of this chapter and is
  subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion
  for that purpose.
         Sec. 423.006.  CIVIL ACTION. (a)  An owner or tenant of
  privately owned real property located in this state may bring
  against a person who, in violation of Section 423.003, captured an
  image of the property or the owner or tenant while on the property
  an action to:
               (1)  enjoin a violation or imminent violation of
  Section 423.003 or 423.004;
               (2)  recover a civil penalty of:
                     (A)  $5,000 for all images captured in a single
  episode in violation of Section 423.003; or
                     (B)  $10,000 for disclosure, display,
  distribution, or other use of any images captured in a single
  episode in violation of Section 423.004; or
               (3)  recover actual damages if the person who captured
  the image in violation of Section 423.003 discloses, displays, or
  distributes the image with malice.
         (b)  For purposes of recovering the civil penalty or actual
  damages under Subsection (a), all owners of a parcel of real
  property are considered to be a single owner and all tenants of a
  parcel of real property are considered to be a single tenant.
         (c)  In this section, "malice" has the meaning assigned by
  Section 41.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
         (d)  In addition to any civil penalties authorized under this
  section, the court shall award court costs and reasonable
  attorney's fees to the prevailing party.
         (e)  Venue for an action under this section is governed by
  Chapter 15, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
         (f)  An action brought under this section must be commenced
  within two years from the date the image was:
               (1)  captured in violation of Section 423.003; or
               (2)  initially disclosed, displayed, distributed, or
  otherwise used in violation of Section 423.004.
         Sec. 423.007.  RULES FOR USE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. The
  Department of Public Safety shall adopt rules and guidelines for
  use of an unmanned vehicle or unmanned aircraft by a law enforcement
  authority in this state.
         SECTION 3.  The change in law made by this Act applies only
  to the capture, possession, disclosure, display, distribution, or
  other use of an image that occurs on or after the effective date of
  this Act.
         SECTION 4.  The provisions of this Act or the applications of
  those provisions are severable as provided by Section 311.032(c),
  Government Code.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
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