Privacy advocates have missed their flight. California Gov. Jerry Brown has grounded a bill that would have outlawed drones flying over private property without permission.
Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, introduced the bill after a drone buzzed her while she was vaationing in Hawaii. She said drones "should not be able to invade the privacy of our back yards and our private property without our permission."
The measure passed both houses of the legislature but Brown vetoed it after howls of protest from Google, Yahoo and other tech giants who weld considerable political muscle in California.
"Drone technology certainly raises novel issues that merit careful examination," Brown said in a veto letter. "This bill however, while well-intentioned, could expose the occasional hobbyist and the FAA-approved commercial user alike to burdensome litigation and new causes of action."
The state's drone industry lobbyists said it would also destroy jobs and expose the state to lawsuits from disgruntled drone operators.
Oregon, Florida and Arkansas already prohibit photography from drones.
The bill gained lift in California after firefighters complained that news media drones were interfering with airborne water and slurry tankers, hampering efforts to fight wildfires and endangering firefighters. But opponents of the measure said there were better ways to deal with that issue, especially since many wildfires occur over public land and would not have been covered by Jackson's bill anyway.